Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Toowoomba Mayoral breakfast serves up a warmer winter

Charity collective Winter Shelter Toowoomba has received a welcome funding boost from the proceeds of this year’s Mayoral Prayer Breakfast.

Winter Shelter Toowoomba is backed by Lifeline Darling Downs and South West Queensland in conjunction with seven church organisations and support services to house up to 10 homeless people a night over winter.

Toowoomba Region Mayor, Paul Antonio last night presented a cheque for $10,324.42 to Lifeline Darling Downs and South West Queensland Chief Operations Officer (Partnerships and Business Development) Rodney Watton.

Mayor Antonio praised the work of Winter Shelter Toowoomba, describing the group’s efforts as an example of Toowoomba’s generous spirit.

“I thank everyone who attended the Mayoral Prayer Breakfast for contributing to the fundraising effort that will make a great difference to Winter Shelter Toowoomba and its clients,” Mayor Antonio said.

“I’m grateful for the contribution of all suppliers, many of whom have backed the breakfast since its inception. Their support in trying business conditions underlines their commitment and unwavering generosity.

“I also acknowledge Mayoral Prayer Breakfast organising committee chair Pastor Andrew Hoey, Senior Minister at Rangeville Community Church and his committee, speakers and performers, Rumours, the TAFE Queensland South West staff and their hospitality students and student volunteers from St Saviour’s and St Joseph’s College for their contributions. Volunteers from our State Emergency Service also help on the morning.

“I look forward to another successful event in 2023.”

Mr Watton said Lifeline appreciated the funding windfall, which would help run Winter Shelter Toowoomba’s operations.

“The funds will help us transport clients and add new facilities, such as a shower trailer with a washing machine and dryer,” Mr Watton said.

“This year we are hiring caravans to house women and children.

“Around 230 volunteers associated with Toowoomba churches and support agencies ensure the workload is shared evenly across winter.

“Within Lifeline, the Toowoomba Housing Hub plays a central role via its initial assessment of clients and its direct relationships with everyone involved in the homeless and housing sector.

“The team’s personal interactions with the clients builds a level of trust that means our staff can more effectively advocate for our client’s specific needs.”

Mr Watton said 12 clients from the 2021 program had been placed in housing. He said this year’s Winter Shelter program was on track to offer a bed each night to more clients.

Winter Shelter Toowoomba is an affiliate of Stable One, a program that has been successfully supporting people experiencing homelessness in Victoria for more than six years.

Participating Toowoomba churches include, the Toowoomba West Anglican Parish, St Stephen’s Uniting Church, HumeRidge Church of Christ, South Toowoomba Baptist Church, Belong Church, Toowoomba City Church partnering with Reform Church, Rangeville Community Church and associated volunteers.

The seven Toowoomba faith communities open their facilities to guests without a place to stay, providing beds and free meals.

Aside from a warm bed for a night, Winter Shelter provides friendship and a sense of community to people experiencing homelessness.

Volunteers stay at each facility to offer a range of support and advisory services to the clients.

Lifeline encourages new volunteers to join the program. Intending volunteers can complete an Expression of Interest by visiting, https://forms.office.com/r/hAntmPg17c 

Donations can be made by visiting, https://www.lifelinedarlingdowns.org.au/Appeal/winter-shelter-toowoomba 

Enquiries about Winter Shelter Toowoomba can be directed to Helen McGrath, Lifeline Darling Downs and South West Queensland Hub Services Integration manager on 1300 991 443 or 4699 4440. Email: hmcgrath@lifelinedarlingdowns.org.au 


Top: Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio presents 2022 Mayoral Prayer Breakfast
proceeds to Lifeline Darling Downs and South West Queensland Chief Operations Officer (Partnerships and Business Development) Rodney Watton.

Below: Winter Shelter Toowoomba ambassador Clayton (left), Helen McGrath (manager Hub Services Integration, Lifeline Darling Downs and South West Queensland), Nate Thomas (Lifeline, Hub Services Integration), Mayor Paul Antonio, Vicki Meagher (St Stephen’s Uniting Church volunteer), Lifeline’s Rodney Watton, Anna Falconer (lead assessor Lifeline, Hub Services Integration), Shaaron Currie (St Stephen’s Uniting Church venue coordinator), Peter Rubie (Project coordinator Winter Shelter Toowoomba) and Rev. Pauline Harley, Priest-in-Charge, Toowoomba West Anglican Parish at the 2022 Mayoral Prayer Breakfast thank you function.

Bottom: Toowoomba Region Deputy Mayor Cr Geoff McDonald (left) and Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio (right) thank St Saviour’s College Year 12 hospitality student Shai Watson and St Saviour’s College hospitality teacher Chris Grierson for the school’s participation at the 2022 Mayoral Prayer Breakfast in May.

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