Stringed instruments, food and guided tours were all part of the festivities at the Grovedale Uniting Church recently, with the official opening of UnitingCare Geelong’s new operations centre on the grounds of the Grovedale church.
UnitingCare Geelong was required to relocate from South Geelong following the sale of South Geelong Uniting Church buildings under the Uniting our future property divestment.
A new administration centre, including client interview rooms, was constructed on the Grovedale Uniting Church site and other church buildings were converted into a food and clothing distribution centre.
A major upgrade to the church’s toilets and kitchen facilities was also included in the refurbishment.
More than 150 people attended the celebrations, coming from as far as Warrnambool and Melbourne.
The celebrations commenced with a dedication service for volunteers, led by Rev Iain Nixon of Grovedale Uniting Church, with moderator Dan Wotton giving the address and presbytery ministers Robert Renton and Ann Key leading prayers.
The moderator officially opened and named the building ‘The Albert Renshaw Building’ in memory of an active Uniting Church member and generous supporter of UnitingCare Geelong.
The church’s ukulele group also performed before many took the opportunity for guided tours of the new complex.
There was also an official opening of the ‘Bill Smith Shed’ named in honour of a current board member who has served for more than 20 years with UnitingCare Geelong and the agency’s predecessor “Concern” as both chairman and property chairman.
The celebrations concluded with a community lunch.
UnitingCare Geelong CEO Des Younghusband said the new premises and church support would guarantee the ongoing presence of UnitingCare in the region.
“Our new offices will ensure UnitingCare continues to provide a range of community support services to struggling families and vulnerable individuals in the Geelong community,” he said.
“We are the leading emergency relief agency in the Geelong district and it is vital we are able to continue supporting the significant needs in our area.”