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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2013 Week 10 Hansard (14 August) . . Page.. 3064..


I commend the ACT division of the Heart Foundation for all the work it does to educate the community and support those living with cardiovascular disease. For more information about the work of the Heart Foundation and the benefits of an active lifestyle, I recommend members visit their website at www.heartfoundation.org.au.

UnitingCare and St Margaret's Uniting Church

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (6.31): It was my pleasure on the weekend, on Sunday, to attend St Margaret's Uniting Church, Hackett, ACT, for an ecumenical worship service and also for the signing of a memorandum of understanding between UnitingCare and St Margaret's Uniting Church to transfer the management of their program, stepping stones for life, to UnitingCare NSW.ACT. I will read from the letter of invitation about the program:

Stepping Stones For Life assists people who are ageing, people living with a disability and especially families in which ageing parents are caring for an adult family member with disability. It started modestly as an activity of St Margaret's some ten years ago and with invaluable support and company-operation from UnitingCare, Disability ACT and Carers ACT, it has progressed to a point where real, tangible results are being achieved.

Ross Walker Lodge was opened in August 2011. Many of us were at that opening, which was a wonderful day. Ross Walker Lodge offers disability accommodation in the Hackett area, and it has proved to be an extremely successful program since its inception.

At the church service we met the disability carer who works there as a support worker and a housekeeper to the people in the house. She is a young woman who came to this country from Nepal and recently got her permanency in Australia—she and her husband, and they have since had a child, so it is a lovely story.

Following the service we all gathered in the hall for the signing of the memorandum and then enjoyed a light lunch. Mr Doszpot also attended the service and joined us for the light lunch.

I am sure that everyone there was very pleased by the fact that they had been able to sign this agreement. Certainly, St Margaret's needs to be commended for the work that they do in the community, and the congregation. These programs grew out of the hard work of the congregation. There are other standout examples of UnitingCare and Uniting churches in the ACT which, through their congregations, provide such support in their communities.

One can think of Pilgrim House and the breakfast club there for people who may be living rough. One can also think, in my electorate, of the Uniting Church at Kippax, through the hard work of Reverend Gordon Ramsay, the volunteers and the paid workers in that place, and the community that strongly supports that work—working with disadvantaged people in the west Belconnen area. In all churches, wherever they are, you will find this kind of work going on amongst the congregation—reaching out into their communities and helping people in the community to lead a better life. I commend all of the work that they are doing on a day-to-day basis.


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