BaptistCare partners with local churches and communities to help change lives.
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In 2020, BaptistCare partnered with Lakes Baptist Church, located in Gorokan on the NSW Central Coast, to find a way to meet the needs of a community where people were struggling with homelessness and loneliness.
While socio-economics doesn’t define communities and the strengths of those who live in them, the 2016 Census noted that Gorokan residents experience significant disadvantage, and up to 80 people experience homelessness every night.
Working with Rev. Mike Jones, Senior Pastor at Lakes Baptist Church, BaptistCare created the new role of a Community Chaplain and hired Donna Knee to start serving the local community.
Donna serves alongside church members to reach the people in the local caravan park, many of whom cannot afford permanent housing and have nowhere else to live.
The team has created the standalone Hope Cottage, a community centre that opens twice a week with a food pantry, which is operated in partnership with BaptistCare HopeStreet Windale, located 45 mins north of Gorokan.
Hope Cottage has become a community hub, bringing joy and purpose to the people who visit, who end up becoming regulars, shares Donna.
“People at first come in for one thing, and by the end of the month they’re hanging out all day and really owning the space. This is their space where they feel empowered.”
“BaptistCare takes great pride in working in partnership with other organisations and churches, as together we achieve more than on our own. This cottage and place for the community is a great example of all of us coming alongside people to get to know their story and journey with them,” says Donna.
The partnership between Lakes Baptist Church, BaptistCare and BaptistCare HopeStreet is a fantastic demonstration of what can be achieved when people come together with a vision and a heart for the local community.