romana house

The story of our involvement with Romana house

Romana House (revised parish council July 2020 - from the AGM report November 2020)

Caring for the poor not only demonstrates God’s love of the poor but also enriches those who serve the poor. In this spirit Parish Council established a ministry in 2020 that:

  • meets a real and existing need,

  • does not duplicate existing services that are provided to the materially poor in the local community,

  • is sustainable in the sense that the St Columb's community is prepared to support it in the long
    term, taking into account the location, time, resources and other commitments of its members, and

  • is accessible by a broad cross-section of the St Columb's community, recognising that we do not all
    have the expertise needed to deal with many of the issues that cause material poverty (including mental illness and addiction).

Romana House: Servants Community Housing
Servants was set up by the Hawthorn West Baptist Church in 1986 to provide affordable accommodation that is safe and secure for vulnerable individuals, many of whom suffer from long-term mental illness. Many have been homeless. Servants provide live-in care and logistical support, together with an evening meal six nights a week (Sun-Fri). Their first residence was Carrical House, West Hawthorn, now with 38 residents. In 2011 they established Hamer Court, High Street, Kew (28 residents); in 2014 Romana House, Kew (24 residents); and in 2018 converted the Hawthorn West Baptist Church manse into accommodation for six women.
Servants' CEO advised that since the COVID-19 restrictions began, a monthly Saturday drop-off of packaged food suitable for a meal (lunch or dinner) that day, cookies and a quantity of fruit sufficient for each resident, was very much needed at Romana House. This would not only be of material benefit to the residents, but also be interpreted as a mark of respect, dignity and acceptance from the local community.

Parish Council's request for volunteers drew an enthusiastic response from the parish, indeed an entire Small Group volunteered to be on the roster as a team. Another member of our group has enlisted the assistance of a warm-hearted neighbour. Armed with an initial bulk package of 500 fully compostable food containers and 500 paper bags, we set to work and delivered our first effort on 5 September. This has been followed by deliveries on 3 October and 7 November. Currently we are on a 4-monthly rotation for the first Saturday of the month and experimenting with what each of us is best able to cook in bulk that the residents enjoy. So far so good! New cooks and bottle washers are always welcome in this ministry team.