Volunteer Ingrid Hatfield serves FoodHut shopper Tony Ashcroft. NationsHeart has continued to serve the community through a small room at the back of the church building where a mini FoodHut is set up. Image supplied.

After several years of planning, a new building to house the NationsHeart FoodHut in Belconnen is now under construction and, once complete, will allow space for community connection to grow.

The original transportable building ran into disrepair and had to be demolished in January 2019. The new FoodHut building will be four times the size of the original space.

The church and local community have contributed $150,000 to the new Community Hub, with a further $30,000 needed in order to finish the project completely.

Ministry team leader, Naomi Giles, said the basic structures have been covered with the money already raised but they will need funds for finishing items like paint, floor coverings, shelving, blinds and furniture.

“We’d love to hear from local business who can provide in-kind goods and resources to put the finishing touches to the building.”

Located in Rae Street, Belconnen, the Community Hub will provide a home for the FoodHut and space for more community connection to grow.

Community coordinator Scott Girvan said “it’s been a long journey – from realising our need for a new facility several years ago, to the many twists and turns through planning approval and then also fundraising”.

“When Covid-19 hit, we had just had the slab laid and we weren’t sure what might happen. Thankfully, construction has been able to continue, and the outside shell of the building is now finished.”

While waiting for their new facility to be complete, NationsHeart has continued to serve the community through a small room at the back of the church building where a mini FoodHut was set up.

“We’ve had to adapt very quickly to the changing conditions in order to stay open and connected with the community,” Scott said. “We are so grateful to our volunteers and all those who come for help in responding to these changes.”

After a quieter period when the restrictions first came into force, most of the regular members of the FoodHut have returned to shop, finding, to their delight, some items that the supermarkets had run out of. There has also been a rise in people using crisis vouchers to shop.

“We decided to order more stock in anticipation of the growing need through the loss of employment and income,” Scott said.

“Because we are unable to share together for our community meal at this time, that space has been given over to receiving and distributing more food and other grocery items.”

Tax deductible donations can be made to the Community Hub project through the NationsHeart website.

The outside shell of the NationsHeart FoodHut in Belconnen is complete and the internal fit-out is now underway. Image supplied.

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