In February I spent an inspiring day with Anglicare, visiting a number of programs in Ulverstone and Devonport.
At Ulverstone, we began at Lomandra in Ulverstone, a facility for those living with acquired brain injury, offering an extraordinary level of care. Then to Grove Street in Ulverstone, a high-quality supported accommodation facility with nineteen rooms. Grove Street is a great example of cooperation between agencies, as Anglicare works well with Community Housing Ltd.
Club Haven in Devonport is a social and support network for people recovering from mental illness. I enjoyed a barbeque lunch with 64 members, including Sean Robinson, who joined as a member but is now employed as a Peer Support Worker. The emphasis at Club Haven is on recovery, acquiring basic living skills and integrating into society, often after having come from a situation of high care and high dependence.
Curraghmore in Devonport is a small group home providing supported accommodation for people with psychiatric disabilities. Last time I visited, some seven years ago, the residents were almost all older people with dementia: this time I was surprised to find mostly younger people. Like the wider church, Anglicare needs to respond as our society changes. Again, the stress is not just on providing a place to live but on promoting recovery.
Back in the Devonport office it was good to meet with Anglicare’s dedicated staff, including Dudley, a Great Dane used in animal-assisted recovery. I couldn’t help but make comparisons with our Donkey Ministry, and Andrea Ward’s use of her pet guinea pigs as a Chaplain at the Royal Hobart Hospital! We should give special thanks for our animal friends.
In the evening I sat in on a meeting of Anglicare’s effective and committed Board and took the opportunity to thank them for Anglicare’s vital role in the total mission of the church. Anglicare’s impressive range of programs for those in need make a huge contribution to our Diocesan goal of ‘A healthy church … transforming life’.