2020 was the third year Baptist Care SA awarded funding to local Baptist churches to run unique, local Collaborative Community Projects (CCPs) to connect with, and empower, vulnerable people in their communities.
The COVID-19 emergency proved to be a formidable challenge to new and existing projects. However, funded projects from earlier rounds have shown remarkable resilience and creativity in the ways they responded to the COVID-19 restrictions that limited and/or ceased activities. We celebrate this!
Clovercrest Baptist Church Kids COACH mentoring volunteers found creative ways to connect with their mentees while they were unable to meet together. This included care packages dropped to the school and phone calls arranged with mentees via their parents. Their mentor volunteers were also very encouraged and equipped by a trauma informed care workshop that featured the expertise of Rosalie Pace, Senior Manager Care Pathways at Baptist Care SA.
Enfield Baptist Church’s English as a Second Language class moved online in the height of the lockdown, with great success and interaction from participants. Attendance was so great that the program co-ordinator is offering a second weekly class in 2021 to meet demand. Later in the year, the group was able to resume face to face classes, but in a larger space to enable appropriate social distancing.
Soul Food Café’s Community Meals Training program was heavily impacted by the lockdown and restrictions, but was thrilled to be able to launch their program in October. They are engaging with participants, seeking to grow community referrals and are looking forward to seeing the program’s impact in the lives of participants over coming months.
It has been a privilege to partner with South Australian Baptist churches, who have remained committed to serving their communities, even amidst these extraordinary times.
We’re also excited to announce the successful applications from the 2020 funding round:
Whyalla Baptist Church was awarded funding to embark on a family COACH mentoring program that will link local Christians with families doing it tough. This intentional, friendship-based mentoring model will provide encouragement and support for participants to achieve their goals. Despite the COVID-19 pause to activities, they have trained some enthusiastic volunteers and are excited to begin matching mentors with mentees in the coming months.
Port Pirie Baptist Church was awarded funding to initiate an outdoor arts program aimed at engaging with local Indigenous people. This program will celebrate and grow their gifts of art, and provide a safe place for expression, connection and support. After delays associated with COVID-19, the Port Pirie team look forward to commencing project activities in early 2021.
Blackwood Hills Baptist Church was awarded funding to begin a learner driver mentoring program. Vulnerable young people who are without the ability to find the required 75 hours of learner driver supervision, will be matched with volunteers who will teach them to drive. They will spend many hours practicing in a for-purpose vehicle maintained by the participants. This will see young people empowered to move out of unemployment and homelessness and grow in confidence and independence by achieving their provisional license. Many participants for this program will come from their original 2018 CCP youth mentoring and friendship program ‘Get Out’. We love seeing the positive impact that friendship and community are having on young people facing homelessness who continue to thrive as they make strong community connections.
Congratulations to each of these very worthy projects!