A need to facilitate more community services and for Hills Church to accommodate a growing ministry to families in the Everton Hills area has been the motivation to build a $3.5m support hub – aptly named Next Gen.
The sod was officially turned in March with Lead Pastor, Nathan Bell recognising the toll 2020 had on local families who were grappling with financial and emotional stresses and needed a helping hand.
Mr Bell said he was thrilled at the progress of the development and is looking forward to the project being completed early 2022.
“Hills Church has been supporting our community for over 30 years, and that includes professional counselling through Hills Family Support Service for more than 20 years. The church also provides valuable parenting classes, budgeting classes and weekly play groups, as well as our Sunday kids church which is fast running out of space” said Mr Bell.
“It has been increasingly evident that more appropriate space was required to address the overwhelming need for these services and the result is seeing the multi-purpose Next Gen being built.”
According to the recent ABS ‘Household Impacts Covid-19 Survey’ released in January this year, one in five Australians (22 per cent) reported their mental health in January 2021 as worse or much worse than before the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions in March 2020.
The survey found that people aged 18 to 34 years (72 per cent) and those aged 35 to 64 years (68 per cent) were more likely to have used one or more strategies to manage their mental health in the last year including seeking support from family and friends.
“With increased financial pressures and additional stresses caused by COVID-19, we have seen people accessing our services who would not have needed to in the past including an increase in our youth reaching out,” said Mr Bell.
“We are so pleased that the new facilities will provide a safe space for those who need it the most – whether it is just a friendly face to speak with or to assist in more practical ways.
Hills Church currently welcomes over 400 members and Kids Ministry Director, Rebekah Cruz is proud that there has always been a focus to provide encouragement and support to its younger parishioners.
“Our vision is to offer a supportive and caring environment to all members of our community including the next generation of kids and youth who may be struggling,” said Ms Cruz.
“We’re looking forward to offering a larger and more versatile space with dedicated facilities that allow us to run specific programs such as Friday night Youth (open to all High School aged students) and Sunday morning Kids (Toddlers to grade 6).”
Builders EJ Hall Construction built the original church 30 years ago and director Eric Hall is so pleased to be appointed to construct this project along with architects Casey and Rebekah Vallance from Cultivar Architectural.
“The Next Gen new building will be positioned right beside the existing church and provide approximately 1000m2 space including additional meeting rooms and a proper café where people will be able to meet for morning tea or lunch,” said Mr Hall.
“It has been wonderful to be a part of the project and know that we are building a space that is going to be meaningful to so many.”