Share hit the road on Tuesday this week with 21 loyal supporters to witness our community service agency programs, places and people first-hand.
Donors, bequestors and Share Reps jumped on the ‘Share shuttle bus’ – departing from Parliament Station at 9am – bound for UnitingCare Harrison before travelling on to Prahran Mission.
The first stop was Croydon North Uniting Church, home to UnitingCare Harrison Gifford Village and Gifford Arts Program.
The Share supporters were hugely impressed by the dynamic set-up the at Croydon North, which encompasses the worship space, meeting rooms and kitchen surrounded by social housing units and a wonderful art studio for agency participants and residents.
“It was a wonderful day of connection and conversation,” Laura Cregan, Church Relationships and Partnerships Manager for Share, said.
“We were welcomed by acting CEO Sharon Wolstenholme, before hearing informative and powerful presentations by Harrison staff, Mark Dixon who is general manager of homelessness services, community engagement worker Jane Daveron, and local artist and Gifford Village resident David Buller.”
Mr Dixon outlined some stories of people living on the streets, young and old, who have welcomed practical helped by Harrison over the years – as well as referencing social advocacy and the lobbying of politicians for policy change on homelessness.
Mr Buller then shared some very human stories about the arts group – including how a group of women all battling cancer had attended in the early days, sharing their journeys and finding expression through art.
He then led the group through the art studio and answered questions about materials, subject matter and the artist community.
After a morning cuppa and hot cross buns, the Share supporters climbed back on the bus to travel to Prahran Mission. The group was led through the various floor levels hearing from dedicated staff involved in vital emergency relief, fabulous op shops, a Lifeline drop-in centre, a successful employment program and the beloved Hartley’s Café, where everyone enjoyed a warm lunch alongside some of the regular diners.
The tour proved to be immensely successful, not only through the engaging Share supporters with the agencies which benefit from their donations, but also in connecting donors and bequestors together to build new relationships and strengthen their common purpose and desire to make an impact.
“The sense of community and connection was wonderful and seeing the agencies, staff and volunteers in action was inspiring,” events co-odinator Ann Byrne said.