Sharing the love
Two Launceston-based church groups are giving practical gifts of love and time to Tasmanians in need.
Members of the Makers Group, part of the All Saints Network of Anglican churches in the Launceston area, have their fingers on the pulse when it comes to community outreach.
They are busy throughout the year, knitting and crafting items to donate to Anglicare’s Launceston office. Personal Assistant Kathy Mumford dropped in a swag of knitted toys, booties, beanies and blankets to us recently: perfect timing now there’s a chill in the air. The Makers Group also puts together toiletry packs for students living at Anglicare’s Thyne House in Launceston.
Anglicare’s Area Coordinator North (Housing Connect) Juanita Colgrave-Williams knows how important these gifts can be to people reaching out to Anglicare for support.
“These special donations are a fantastic resource for our ‘Front Door’ assessment workers,” she said. “They are the first port of call for people who have had to leave their homes quickly due to situations such as family violence.
“Sometimes a parent arrives with children in tow and all they have are the clothes on their backs. These items are useful and comforting at such a difficult time, especially moving into the colder months of the year.
“The main reason people present to our service is housing crisis,” Juanita explains. “Demand for emergency accommodation is increasing with the diminishing affordability of private rentals and the long wait for social housing (over 12 months for priority applicants). So far this year, the Launceston Front Door alone has received 3056 enquiries, with 281 of these being from people in immediate crisis.”
Open door policy
The Door of Hope Christian Church in South Launceston is a close neighbour to Anglicare’s Levi House. Levi House offers supported and affordable, long-term housing for adults in Thistle Street.
There’s a lot of coming and going between the two locations and Chaplain Jo Kemp is very up-beat about the year ahead.
“We seem to be off to a good start for the year,” she said. “On Australia Day we had a barbecue tea at Levi House, and I think over half of the residents came along. One of the young men gave a lovely speech, thanking us for taking the time to come and do barbecues over the past year.
“A couple of us [go to Levi House] each Tuesday afternoon for craft activities, but often we just chat to people as they come into the dining room – word has got around that we will be there at that time, so we get residents coming to say hello.”
A highlight of last year’s program was the flower-arranging sessions held at Levi House. The arrangements were presented to church seniors as part of an outreach program run during Covid restrictions and they have recently started up again. This week, the church hosted an Easter picnic for the residents: “We made gifts of chocolate treats and knitted chickens,” Jo said.
Support Worker Rebecca Dykstra said: “The tenants at Levi really look forward to these events and strong, inclusive and respectful relationships have formed with the staff and volunteers at Door of Hope. They bring a lot of energy, enthusiasm and creativity.”
Interested in finding out more?
Margaret Savage is Anglicare’s Parish Community Development Worker. She welcomes enquiries from church groups who are interested in supporting programs run by Anglicare in their local area. Margaret can be contacted at: email@example.com
Please note that if you are interested in this type of accommodation, you will first need to contact the Housing Connect service.