Canberra City Care (CCC) has grown from small beginnings to a busy community hub that offers low cost food, clothing, IT equipment and debt management to around 300 families every week. It was established as a community outreach service of Canberra Christian Life Centre shortly after moving into their new premises in the old Charnwood High School building in 2001. The church has since changed names to Life Unlimited Church (LifeUC), and CCC moved into a larger refurbished section of the building in 2010. We now operate with the assistance of around 50 amazing volunteers, and work in close relationship with a variety of community organisations within the ACT.
A little bit of history…
Charity Computers commenced in March 2001 with a 3 month work for the dole grant with Mission Australia. Mark and Mary-Jane Dunnett moved from Sydney to Canberra based on the initial grant, trusting God for ongoing funding. In June 2001 a 1 year contract was signed with Mission Australia to continue funding. In 2002 Charity Computers began to teach the Cert III in IT in partnership with Unity College. Metal Recycling services were added to the computer training, followed by Computer recycling. Charity Computers stopped running IT courses in 2014, although students from Unity College still complete hands-on components of the course at the facility. Charity Computers changed its name to the Tech Shed in 2014, and continues to recycle and refurbish second-hand computers to be sold for a small cost to low-income earners.
ReRuns Op Shop
Re-Runs Op Shop was established by Shona Kelly in 2001. It started off as a small second-hand clothing outlet and moved into its new, larger premises at the opposite end of the building in 2010.
HandUp Food Care
HandUp Food Care was established by Jody Sisley and Sandra MacDonald in the old Charnwood High School building as a small food pantry on 21 May 2007. It was opened to help meet the need of local families who were seeking assistance with food during times of financial hardship, and to compliment the work already being done through the op shop and Charity Computers. HandUp was one of the first food pantries in the ACT to access low cost and free food from FoodBank NSW. We were also successful in receiving a Federal Government grant to provide Emergency Relief, and this continued for 9 years, until early 2015.
In 2010 HandUp moved into a new refurbished section of the same building, along with the other services offered by Canberra City Care. We now receive between 3–5 pallets of food from FoodBank each week, and collect donations of fruit, vegetables and bread from 7 supermarkets around the ACT on a daily basis. We also work in partnership with SydneyCare, OzHarvest ACT and SecondBite to rescue and distribute food that would otherwise go to waste.
HandUp has been instrumental in helping other food pantries establish, both in the ACT and in NSW. We have also been an integral part of developing the FoodBank voucher system that now operates between 5 Emergency Relief providers and approximately 10 food pantries around Canberra and Queanbeyan.
HandUp has been involved in distributing between 200 and 400 Christmas hampers each year since 2010. We offer support to some of our own customers who are experiencing a difficult holiday season, as well as providing some hampers to other organisations. A number of schools, government departments, businesses and other organisations are now involved in collecting donations towards this project.
Christians Against Poverty
Christians Against Poverty originated in the UK in 1996. It was introduced into Australia in 2000, and the first ACT centre was managed by Danielle Bate through Canberra Christian Life Centre in 2008. In the first 8 years of operation, we visited around 400 families in the local Canberra community and celebrated with approximately 70 families who worked with this program to become debt free. A second Canberra CAP centre was opened through Impact Church at the end of 2015. The centre closed in 2016 but continues to offer the free CAP Money budgeting course twice a year.
HARVEST GARDEN & KITCHEN
The Harvest Garden was established in partnership with SPARK Ginninderry as a Cert II in Construction in 2017. This was followed by the completion of a commercial-style kitchen in 2019. Our staff and team of volunteers grow a range of fresh vegetables and fruit for use in the food pantry and kitchen throughout the year. We also hold a Shop or Swap stall during the harvest season to encourage community participation in the swapping of fresh produce, and offer organic fruit and vegetables at an affordable price.