On November 18, 2020, thirty years of community service were celebrated with a VIP Morning Tea and Book Launch held in the Glen Eden Baptist Church (GEBC) café.
The book, titled Building Hope Together, is a picture-rich historical record of the first 30 years of VisionWest which began life as The Friendship Centre Trust after a group from GEBC decided they wanted to reach out, in a practical way, to their wider community. The Council gave them permission to renovate and utilise the disused local railway station as a drop-in centre for the agreed rent of one dollar per year.
Within a short time, various services were being offered from the railway station, including a children’s playgroup, life-skills programmes, childcare and weekly meetings for those in the community who were unemployed.
30 years on, the Trust has well and truly outgrown the railway station. We provide multiple services to our community, have over 1,700 employees making it one of West Auckland’s largest employers, and are in various locations throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. More importantly, the lives of thousands of whānau are touched each year and a multitude of lives have been positively transformed.
The book launch, having been postponed twice because of COVID restrictions, was limited to 50 people with a guestlist that included local Carmel Sepuloni MP, former mayors, Janet Clews and Bob Harvey, and Councillor Linda Cooper. Time was also taken to honour those who had journeyed with the Trust since it began, many as long-term volunteers.
Murray Cottle was pastor of GEBC in the early days of the Trust and commented, “It’s amazing to see what the Trust has become. It’s a testament to what can happen when a group of people launch into a vision with perseverance and a willingness to take a few risks.”
To purchase a copy of Building Hope Together, CLICK HERE.