Justin is in his 40s and lives in Canberra. In early 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, he found himself struggling mentally and emotionally. The trauma of being alone was compounded by other circumstances in his life that had left him further isolated and feeling like he had no-one to turn to for help.
"It's change my life dramatically. Through Anglicare I've found my belief in God again."
2021 SEPTEMBER APPEAL
In the midst of the uncertainty and chaos, Anglicare teams across the region are working hard to remain a safe place and haven of stability for people most in need.
The recent lockdowns in NSW and the ACT have caused a new wave of anxiety and uncertainty first experienced in the 2020 lockdowns. Families can’t leave their homes, people living alone are left further isolated, and those who are vulnerable are struggling the most.
People have approached our emergency relief services for help wearing T-shirts wrapped around their faces because they haven’t been able to buy a mask, or asking for food which they have to eat while stranded in their cars as they have no-where else to stay during lockdowns.
Anglicare operates Community Centres across our regions, including the Gordon Community Centre in the south of Canberra in partnership with Lanyon Valley Anglican Church. 80-100 people every month visit Gordon Community Centre to receive food assistance, participate in the playgroup activities or classes, and join the community lunch or just catch up for a ‘cuppa’.
All these activities are designed to support the local area and keep people connected, with services adapting and continuing, even during COVID-19 lockdowns.
When Justin was at his lowest, he reached out to the team at Gordon Community Centre.
“I knew the community centre had a food hub, so I came here using that as an excuse to ask for counselling because I was in such a bad spot,” says Justin.
“There wasn’t a counselling service offered, but one of the volunteers at the centre said ‘There’s a minister here. You can talk to him if you like?’
Rev’d Jonathan Holt from Lanyon Valley church made time to catch up with Justin for an hour or so each week where they would discuss different issues. These catch ups continued by phone during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Jonathan was surprised and encouraged by Justin’s courage and his dedication to meet up every week to discover truths within the Bible that addressed his needs and circumstances.
While most people who reach out for emergency assistance need food or help with bills, at Anglicare we know that often people are experiencing deep feelings of rejection, anxiety and disconnection. Many times this sort of need is hidden out of shame or anxiety.
Anglicare, with the support of church partners like Lanyon Valley Anglican Church, want to see these hidden needs addressed too.
Your donation ensures that our centres can continue to operate and that people like Justin have somewhere to go to be part of a caring community.
“When I walk in each week, the volunteers know my name and call out hello to me.. Outside this building, people look down on me and I don’t feel that I’m worth much, but when I come in here I feel wanted and worthwhile. It shocked me a bit at first. It’s overwhelming.” says Justin.
Gordon Community Centre, along with our centres and partner centres in north Canberra, Wagga Wagga, Moruya and Bathurst, receives limited or no government funding. The hundreds of people assisted every month can only continue to receive help because of the generosity of people like you.
I want other people to be part of this centre in the same way as Justin so they can begin that step by step journey to healing and connection with others,” explains Rev Jonathan from Lanyon Valley church (which partners with Anglicare to run Gordon Community Centre).