​Dixon House Neighbourhood Centre in Clayton is partnered with All Saints' Clayton Anglican Church.

For more than 21 years, Dixon House Neighbourhood Centre in Clayton, a partnership with local Anglican parish All Saints, has been providing a place for people from the local community to gather, learn new skills, and access services and resources.

“Dixon House’s weekly community lunch has become quite an institution”, says Programs Coordinator Rosemary Snibson. Every Wednesday, a resourceful band of volunteers manages to feed more than 30 people for just $50 a week – and that includes a cooked lunch and dessert.

“It’s such a good mixing point,” said Rosemary. “It’s not just feeding people – it’s a social event. Some people come week after week because they want some company.”

“We’ve got one woman who has been coming for years, and she’s gone from being a guest to a helper at the lunch. She just loves being able to give back.”

About two fifths of Clayton’s residents have arrived in Australia in the last five years. Dixon House’s literacy class helps some of these recent arrivals with the enormous challenge of learning English.

“They might be people from India or China who need to upgrade their language skills to help them find work, or Italian and Greek people who have stuck to their own community and not really learned much English yet. We also have refugees and asylum seekers in the group. It’s very diverse.”

Around 15 local primary school children attend the weekly homework club, where volunteers from All Saints and nearby Monash University help them with their English skills.

Most of the participants are Sudanese, however, the program has recently expanded to include children from other cultural backgrounds.

“We want to find and help the children with the greatest literacy needs,” said Rosemary.

Support from the Melbourne Anglican Benevolent Society helped Dixon House through a transitional period when another of its funding sources was withdrawn, and it now continues to support these vital programs.

“I’m just so grateful for that transitional funding,” said Rosemary. “Our priority is to help those who don’t have the same opportunities as those in mainstream society, or who may be vulnerable in some way. Melbourne Anglican Benevolent Society has provided funding at a time when we needed it; so that we could continue to deliver English language teaching, homework tutoring and a regular nutritious lunch.”

 
 

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