St Brendan’s conference committee member Marina Incletolli sent us this story about the opening and blessing of the Welfare Assistance Centre in Shepparton.
It is with great pride that we conducted the official opening and blessing of the newly renovated building of the St Vincent de Paul Welfare Assistance Centre at 290 Wyndham St, Shepparton, on May 1.
The blessing was officiated by Reverend Father Joseph ‘‘Joe’’ Taylor, Parish Priest of St Brendan’s Catholic Church, Shepparton.
A number of members of the St Vincent de Paul Melbourne office attended the opening, including service support department general manager Kate Johnson, St Vincent de Paul development officer Kate O’Brien and regional president Denise Crawford.
St Brendan’s conference president Peter Feain, St Mel’s conference president Peter Pettigrew, local volunteers, members of social welfare and allied agencies, community members and other guests also attended on the day.
St Vincent de Paul is a volunteer-run organisation underpinned by local volunteer groups, known as conferences, which support local people in need.
The geographical area covered by the Welfare Assistance Centre, including the two conferences St Brendan’s and St Mel’s, provides support to about 1500-plus members of the community.
This costs more than $170 000 annually in order to provide for those in need.
Conference members provide compassionate face-to-face support and access to the basics such as food, education needs, utility bills and medical needs.
This support model is designed to give people a ‘‘hand-up’’ with human connection in times of crisis.
In the past financial year, St Vincent de Paul provided $14.9 million of welfare assistance to adults and children in local communities.
There has been a rising demand on charities and St Vincent de Paul has experienced a 40 per cent increase in the demand during the past three years.
St Vincent de Paul does not receive any government funding and is self-funded through the proceeds of Vinnies stores and public donations.
It is important that the centre be accessible and have a focus on those who seek assistance.
● Those needing help can access the centre by phoning 5821 0317 between 10 am and noon on weekdays. It is necessary to make an appointment due to the volume of requests.