The meeting place

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On the first day of winter, The Meeting Place at Kinglake West was officially opened. Inside it was a warm and welcoming event as people heard of the story behind the building from concept to reality.

The small wooden church at Kinglake West became a focal point for the community after the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires. A large tent was set up next to the church, initially to serve meals for those left without a home. Over time, it became a source of comfort as survivors gathered and supported each other through the difficult aftermath of the fires.

Bev Johns has been involved in the recovery process at Kinglake since day one. She said the new building will enable Kinglake UC to continue their invaluable contribution to the local community.

“The building has been designed to be functional and adaptable, while warm and welcoming,” Ms Johns said.

“It features a large room to be used for meetings and our regular meals on Friday nights. Two offices are to be used for counselling and private meetings. There is a new kitchen – hooray, no more cooking out of our kitchenette! Also storage areas and Access for All toilets.”

The community spirit that was apparent immediately after the fires has continued in the small mountain township. Ms Johns said the main funding for the building came from the Uniting Church’s SHARE Appeal and the Lions Bushfire Appeal. But many businesses large and small, as well as other church communities, had been generous in their support.

“To complete the building on budget, as building costs increased, we have done much of the works ourselves and installed good second-hand items to reduce costs,” Ms Johns said.

“And of course there are our volunteers who make it all possible. They deserve a very big thank you.”

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