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On a mission to build community in Reservoir

On a mission to build community in Reservoir

On a mission to build community in Reservoir

15 June 2021

Auxiliary-Lieutenant Matt Atkins and the whole team have worked hard to make the Reservoir Corps mission house fit for new residents.

By Jessica Morris

Auxiliary-Lieutenants Esther and Matt Atkins, of Reservoir Corps in Melbourne’s north, know that creating community is about more than just running programs – it is about giving people a home. Literally.

Upcoming leader Jaycob was the first resident at ‘The Barracks’ mission house.

In 2020, they officially opened ‘The Barracks’, a four-bedroom mission house, which acts as the residence for upcoming leaders who want to learn and serve. Formerly a ‘crisis house’ located next to the corps, Esther and Matt altered it to become a ‘mission house’, utilised for training and developing young leaders.

It also creates a much-needed, self-sustaining cycle of leadership and ministry for the corps through its residents.

“I have lived in a house of eight, and Esther has lived in a house of 20, so we know the bad and good social dynamics that can be in shared houses!” explains Matt. “We make sure we are doing our best – and also being good stewards of what The Salvation Army has given us.”

Designed as an extension to corps ministry, up to four residents at a time can participate in the year-long program to serve at Reservoir Corps while they continue to work or study outside of the Army.

By gaining external mentoring, The Barracks is a haven for upcoming leaders to develop their skill set, confidence and awareness. Plus, it allows them to serve in whatever capacity they are most passionate about – whether they love gaming, working with young people, doing grounds-keeping or running media.

“We do at least one training per term with them, and it’s anything between understanding finance to counselling. It’s about training to upskill and to equip them for adulthood,” said Matt.

Last year, it became home to upcoming leader Jaycob, who piloted the program. “The Barracks gave me a space to figure who I am,” he said. “It helped me build character and so much more confidence in myself as a young adult. I wouldn’t be who I am today without it, truly.”

In 2021, two more upcoming leaders have taken up residence in The Barracks.

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