Uniting Care Ballarat

UnitingCare Ballarat, along with the Ballarat Central Uniting Church forms the Ballarat Parish Mission. It has delivered fundamental support to thousands of people in our community for over 35 years. Throughout the agency’s history, UnitingCare Ballarat has maintained a commitment to identify needs within the community and then to establish relevant, supportive services. UnitingCare Ballarat provides over 55 services over seven main community service areas and administers eight Early Childhood Centres. We also operate four retail outlets and a budget accommodation venue that further supports our work in the community. We also provide Housing, Homelessness Support, Drug and Alcohol Counselling, Emergency Relief, Aged and Disability Care services, Youth Residential and Mental Health services, Breezeway Meals programme, and Lifeline Counselling.

Our Vision is to share in the mission of God, confronting poverty and injustice,
that all people may be empowered to live life with dignity.

Social Justice Group

Social Justice Group meets bi-monthly on 2nd Sunday at 12 noon

Ethical Supermarket Shopping Guide

With every dollar you spend you have an impact on the planet and its people. We live in a time of human rights abuse, animal cruelty, genetically modified foods and industry’s massive impact on the environment. These factors can often seem beyond our control and quite removed from our everyday life. However, the fact is that every time we buy something, the money we spend endorses a company and its activities, whether we are aware of it or not –and whether we like it or not.

By avoiding companies with a negative track record and instead buying products from companies that have a positive impact, we can send a strong message for change and support the practices that make our world a better place to live in. Companies need our money to stay in business, and your dollar is literally your vote.

This shopping guide provides information on the environmental and social record of companies behind the brand names of common supermarket  products. The information is gathered from more than 25 sources including the work of  organisations such as Greenpeace, Choose Cruelty Free, Corporate Monitor, Friends of the Earth, and Responsible Shopper.

To obtain a copy of the Guide visit www.ethical.org.au

Fairtrade – Look for Logo

When shopping look for the Fairtrade logo and give the products a go. Buying Fairtrade products makes a real difference for the Fairtrade farmers and workers in developing countries. In addition to providing a fair and stable price for their products, Fairtrade is helping producers and their communities build better roads, access Health care and send their kids to school. Fairtrade also helps them to grow and develop their businesses, ensuring they can improve life for their families and communities well in to the future.

Act for Peace

Act for Peace was founded in 1948 as the aid agency of the Australian Council for the World Council of Churches. It Focused on aiding refugees displaced by World War II and emergencies. In the last few years it has had an increased emphasis on assisting communities most burdened by conflicts with partners on the ground assisting more than 500,000 refugees and 1 million people living in extreme poverty.

Ballarat Central Uniting Church supports Act for Peace through the Christmas Bowl Appeal and also through crisis appeals throughout the year.

ESL – English as a Second Language Classes

In the last few months of 2014, we began providing English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for the Sudanese-Australian members of our congregation. Classes were held in the old Manse each Thursday afternoon (of the school term) from 1pm to 3 pm…approximately! Often we became so involved in the conversations that emanated from the reading material, that we found it difficult to stop!

Sudanese Sewing

This group was formed several years ago so that Sudanese women could learn sewing. It meets each Friday between 1.00 – 3.00pm We have several young children who come with their Mothers and we have been able to provide a babysitter to look after them.

Homework Club

Homework Club has been operating for two years and meets weekly in the Ballarat Library between 4-5pm each Tuesday. We have over 40 children registered as members of Homework Club. Some come regularly while others come when they have homework projects they need help with and others come when sporting and other school commitments allow. Our tutors are drawn from the congregation, Ballarat Clarendon College students and members of the wider community.

Cuppa & Chat – in the Light Lounge

If you happen to go into the Light Lounge behind our Church on a Monday afternoon about 1.30 p.m. you will notice people arriving, volunteers setting out cheese and biscuits, mugs for tea and coffee making ready to enjoy a pleasant afternoon. The regulars meet and greet and start talking and sharing with each other. A new person is always made welcome. Some people only come once, others come when they are able and others come weekly. There is a lot of laughter, sometimes sadness and frustration about issues that are confronting and hard to cope with. One or two conversations help people know they are not alone.

Hospitality for International Students

This initiative has been running for four years now. During orientation week the Church offers the opportunity for any of the new Federation Uni students from overseas to be hosted for a couple of meals in the homes of church members and then later for a shared meal at the church. The meals are simply offering a welcome to those who find themselves in a new country. It is open to people of any or no religion with no agenda other than to meet and offer hospitality. The experience of being hosted has been much appreciated and some students have formed lasting relationships with their hosts.

Mary Alice Cairns Endowment

This endowment has funded scholarships for women studying Theology in Vanuatu. During 2014 the Vic/Tas Synod Trusts Lawyer was set the task of undertaking a ‘review of the trusts established by gifts and bequests, many of which were inherited by the Church following union’. This has impacted on the Mary Alice Cairns Endowment as the conditions for the original role of St Andrew’s congregation in the determination of the use of this bequest can no longer be met however, a Court order will be sought to approve that Uniting World can continue the work in Vanuatu as well as the practical involvement of Ballarat Central.

Welfare Fund

The Welfare Fund exists to both supplement and fill a gap in the services provided by UnitingCare and other agencies. It is funded through the retiring offering on Communion Sundays and other contributions from Church members.

Casserole Bank

The casserole bank is a great way of showing that we care for each other. When family members are ill, under pressure or just in need of our care, one practical way of helping is the gift of a casserole or some biscuits. If you can assist, please contact Marg Littlehales. Your work is really appreciated by those who receive them!

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