NEW PROJECT: COMMUNITY CARE CENTRE – SOUTHPORT
Pictured: Regional Hospitaller, Danny Higgins and Fr Gerard McMorrow, Parish Priest for Southport and Order of Malta Magistral Chaplain
An exciting new facility in Southport, Queensland that will provide services to disadvantaged community members is set to open at the end of the year. The Centre will be a joint project of the Order of Malta and the Southport Catholic Parish.
The Order of Malta Community Care Centre will cater to a range of people needing assistance; the homeless, those suffering from mental illness, the elderly without adequate savings, refugees, young families with limited incomes and people on government welfare struggling to survive.
The project was initiated by Magistral Chaplain Fr Gerard McMorrow, the Parish Priest for Southport, who recognised the need for services in the area. Whilst the Parish had the resources to offer premises for such a facility, they need a partner to run the Centre and approached Order of Malta Regional Hospitaller, Danny Higgins. A formal Memorandum of Understanding between the Order of Malta, the Southport Parish and the Archdiocese of Brisbane is being prepared to underpin the project.
“Southport is an area of the Gold Coast that has suffered urban decay over the last few decades as new areas closer to the tourist locations have developed” explained Danny. “This has seen the area attract people who are no longer able to afford rent in these newer areas. Consequently, due to increased demand, rents in Southport are starting to rise and the most disadvantaged and vulnerable community members are faced with either, prioritising rent over feeding themselves, or finding themselves homeless. The new Centre will provide much needed services to these people and is in direct alignment with the Order’s mission”.
Construction on the Centre is already underway. Pivotal to the project’s success is creating a space disadvantage people can feel comfortable attending. Thanks to a grant from the Order’s Global Fund for the Forgotten People, funding for the purchase of computer workstations, library materials, games and magazine subscriptions has been secured.
Once open, the Centre will provide breakfast and lunch on weekdays and it is anticipated it will serve up to 1,000 meals each week. It will also offer toiletries, clothing, showers and clothes washing facilities for those who need it.
The Order of Malta is also engaging other partners who serve this demographic. Rosies -Friends on the Street van outreach, who assist with the distribution of our Coats for the Homeless, are looking to use the Centre as a base. Emmanuel City Mission, a Catholic ministry operating a homeless outreach centre in Brisbane where Order of Malta members volunteer twice a month, have expressed strong support for the project and wish to develop a relationship for mutual benefit between the centres.
The Centre will employ a full-time centre manager, however it will be volunteers from the Order of Malta, the local Parish and tertiary colleges that will form the bulk of the Centre’s workforce.
Longer term the Centre intends to provide facilities for third party providers such as welfare agencies, medical and mental health referral services, domestic violence support, refugee, homelessness, probation services, triage nursing service, financial planning and legal aid. Eventually the Centre also hopes to offer its own services such as primary health care, counselling, training, advocacy and accommodation.
Please consider a tax deductible donation to assist with the day to day running costs of the Order of Malta Community Care Centre. Donations can be made on online.
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