A school networker who supports students and families in Ravenswood, Waverley and St Leonards says a decision to end her funding will end four years of relationship-building and leave the communities worse off.
Jacinta Sturdy's role involved supporting disengaged and vulnerable students to access support services and reconnect with their community. She was also instrumental in school community gardens, would organise Christmas carols and co-ordinate meal deliveries for three primary schools.
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Her role was funded via the Communities for Children initiative, delivered by Anglicare Tasmania and funded by the federal Department of Social Services.
For the first time since starting four years ago, Ms Sturdy was made to reapply for her funding. Anglicare informed her last week she was unsuccessful, and funding would end on June 30.
'Someone they can talk to without fear of prejudice'
Waverley Primary School principal Jennifer Bryan said the school would miss the support of Ms Sturdy.
"The work with our disengaged and vulnerable students, she has that connection and she provides that link that's so vital to our school and our community," she said.
"It would be very difficult to maintain that level of support and connection without her.
"As an example, last Friday she managed to get donations from all sorts of people from the community and provided a hot meal for every student in the school. She has these amazing relationships with students and parents."
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The three primary schools - Waverley, Ravenswood Heights and St Leonards - had been strong supporters of her work. Her application for funding included support letters from a range of individuals, including Waverley grade 5/6 teacher Alison Alessio, who said the loss of Ms Sturdy would "be felt deeply and for a lasting period of time".
"She has worked to develop important relationships and built up trust with everyone in the community. These relationships and the level of trust that community places in her, take time and effort to build," Ms Alessio said.
"All of the students at Waverley Primary know Jacinta is someone they can talk to without fear of prejudice. She has always gone 'above and beyond'."
Lack of clarity in decision-making a concern
Ms Sturdy said the decision came as a shock, and she had no idea what more she needed to do to prove her worth.
"I don't think a lot of the projects that I've been involved with will be able to continue, there isn't someone to do the gardens in all three schools, no one to do that networking for students and parents," she said.
"The information that I'm able to provide to the schools helps them to put in place the wrap around services that families need. People have developed close relationships with me.
"It's a very successful program and we've complied with everything that Anglicare would want. We've never had a non-compliance issue."
The "competitive selection process" was open to all providers in the Launceston-Tamar Valley area. A similar role which operates in George Town was successful in its funding application.
Anglicare Tasmania did not respond to a question about why Ms Sturdy was unsuccessful, but instead provided a list of all successful applicants.
A spokesperson said the selection criteria was to "demonstrate evidence-based practice and deliver services that have been shown to achieve positive results for children and families".
Successful applicants included Mission Australia's Parenting Together program and two community family workers through the Northern Suburbs Community Centre.
Bass Liberal MHR Bridget Archer said she was working with stakeholders to understand the funding decision in regards to Ms Sturdy.