Anglicare’s manager for community development in Ballarat Geoff Ryan will now oversee the organisation’s relationships with its parishes across the state.
Mr Ryan has been promoted to manager of parish partnerships for the whole of Victoria.
Parish partnerships are projects which are run at a local level to meet a particular community’s needs.
“It means that I’ll be working with a lot more, and more diverse communities which I really enjoy,” Mr Ryan said.
“It means I can work with churches and staff right across Victoria and get them to try and see what’s really possible in terms of addressing community needs because there’s an enormous amount of emphasis on money, on power, on big brother approach but if small communities get motivated and get active they can do so much more than a lot of the big businesses can.”
Mr Ryan said the Ballarat diocese, which includes Warnnambool and Ararat, led the state in parish partnerships.
Of more than 100 parish projects in the state, 38 of them are in the Ballarat diocese and all parishes are in some way involved with Anglicare.
“The diocese of Ballarat would be one of the leading diocese in terms of parish partnerships and the link between churches and Anglicare in the diocese of Ballarat is extremely strong,” he said.
“That’s something we’ll be looking at doing right across Victoria, really trying to rebuild that link so that parishes and Anglicare see they have a joint responsibility to help people who are really in need.”
Mr Ryan said parish projects worked from the grass roots up.
“It’s a very simple formula, it involves going into communities, identifying community needs and then working out how the church can sit down and actually fix it.
“It’s a bottom up approach.
“An approach where a government or a big body will come in and say ‘we know what’s right for you’ isn’t in my view anywhere near as effective as if the community, church and Anglicare work together on what needs to be done and fix it themselves.”
Being able to remain in Ballarat while taking on the statewide role had been important, Mr Ryan said.
“”I’m allowed to stay based in Ballarat, I don’t have to move to Melbourne which is really important to me because I love rural life, I love living in a place like Ballarat.
“Ballarat has so much to offer, you can get everything you need within 15 minutes of the centre of Ballarat.”
For more information about parish partnerships call 1800 809 722.
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