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Iconic mascot of Ozanam Community Centre, Eric the Eel, has passed away.

Eric had been a permanent presence at Ozanam Community Centre since the 1990s and he reflected the qualities of VincentCare clients and staff: tough, resilient and ever present.

According to the history, Eric was smuggled into Ozanam Community Centre via a client's cola bottle, having been collected from a Melbourne creek. From a tiny eel, Eric grew to be a metre long. He was there for many clients who spent quiet time with him and who always ensured he was safe and happy. 

Eric was also very resilient, he even survived a poisoning attempt.

"It really is a sad day for the site, I can’t underscore enough how much caring for animals means to both clients and staff here, especially Eric," said VincentCare Team Leader, Justin Bennett.

"He gave a lot of staff and clients a tremendous amount of joy over the five years I've worked here."

Eric was a therapy animal with a difference and he made a big difference to the lives of VincentCare clients and staff. He will be missed.

Ozanam Community Centre in North Melbourne provides support to men and women who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, and/or socially excluded, by providing a range of support options including: breakfast and lunch meal programs, showers/laundry facilities, housing information and referral, client volunteer program, art and music therapy, on-site doctors, and more. To contact the centre, all 03 9329 6733.

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