For many years, Glenquarie Anglican Church’s ‘Break the Cycle’ program has given community service to some of the most marginalised people in NSW. Since early 2013, BTCG has run a pilot project aimed at reducing the re-offending rate among male ex-prisoners in south-western Sydney.
BTCG chaplain Rev Stuart Woods has reported to Anglican Aid, which helps fund the project, on progress achieved in the first half of 2015. One achievement is the manufacture by the ex-prisoners’ Men’s Shed of Indian myna bird traps. The men have sold many of these to people attending Campbelltown Council’s myna bird action program training days.
Other projects have been the renovation of the church hall kitchenette, including a new stainless steel sink and fittings and new cupboards, along with electrical and plumbing work; building a boxed-in seat for the church’s “cry room”; regular mowing of the church property.
The men’s shed has formed a “great connection” with one of the local primary schools and completed a huge sandpit for the children’s play area.
The chaplain supports clients through practical help, engaging them about substance abuse issues, providing prayer and spiritual guidance, and family and marital advice.
“Ultimately the chaplain’s goal for any individual is to see them accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, to see them become part of a church family so they can mature into the man or woman they were made to be in Christ,” says Mr Woods.
George (name changed) had previous employment in a local school as a handyman, but after he split up with the mother of his young boy he became depressed.
George regularly fed this depression with alcohol; he was a lonely single dad with no real friends. Suicide was on the cards.
After more than 12 months as a BTCG Men’s Shed member – through regular contact with the chaplain and attending the SORTED life skills course for men - George was able to stabilise his life dramatically.
He is much more confident in himself and drinks much less; he has genuine friendships with other members of the men’s shed.
Guided by the chaplain, George has been able to get some work again as a handyman at a local school and has set up his ABN and invoicing system again.
He is a new man with hope back in his life, new friends, opportunities with work and a smile on his face.
Related project: Break the Cycle - Glenquarie Anglican Church