Here’s an excerpt from our interview with Werribee Salvos, whose leaders Captain Catherine Abram and Captain Phill Abram and their team, build their health and vitality through initiatives such as this.

Read the conversation below.

NCLS: If we talk about your facilities and context, it seems like the corps is on site, worship is on site, and emergency services is on site.

PA: Yes.

NCLS: Did I notice food services in town by the cafes? 

PA: Yes, We’ve got the thrift shop there as well. What else is there?

CA: Community support is next door. That’s emergency relief.

PA: Everything’s within a one block radius of each other or two block radius of each other.

NCLS: Your facility here, looks like it used to be a unit block or was it a purpose built facility?

CA: That side is an old house. This is one of the oldest buildings in Werribee this side and then the other side was built on and it was a reception centre before the Salvation Army bought it. 

NCLS: I was wondering because it seems purpose built, as well as having a mix of architecture.

CA: People come in and go, “I did my deb here. I had my formal here.”

PA: We had a community dinner fundraiser meal a couple of weeks ago and one of the girls came in, and we’ve got to know her husband, yes, “We did our deb here. I haven’t been here for 15 years or something like that.”  

NCLS: Hence the nice garden entrance out the front.

PA: Yes. This side of the building, apparently there’s four homes that are the same as the original half smattered on this side, where four brothers built almost matching homes for their families. Then the thrift shop is a factory.

NCLS: How do you find that this facility works for you? Given there’s a purpose-built hospitality space, as well as a playground space, then meeting rooms, an auditorium and offices.

CA: We’ve put the playground in. When you look at the shell a lot has been renovated. There’s a big commercial kitchen which I think they’d renovated and obviously brought it up to standard. The playground was done, I think about four years ago, out the front and there’s another playground around the side.  

PA: The only thing that functionally is difficult is that from upstairs where we work, there’s no sight into the rest of the building. So, you can’t see if there’s something going on. So, that’s the only downfall.

CA: I think there has been talk about renovations and extending. There have been plans in the past because we’re at capacity on a Sunday in the main auditorium. 

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