About Us

St Benedict’s Community Centre provides a place for people in our community to come for friendship, advocacy, support and a meal. St Benedict’s service is a co-operative initiative delivered jointly by Queanbeyan’s Anglican Church, Baptist Church, Uniting Church, Catholic Church, and Celebration Community.

Our hope is that our community has a plentiful supply of housing, access to education, an abundance of nutritional food, opportunities to work and participate in our community, and access to health services.

St Benedict’s Community Centre Incorporated - Vision, Mission and Values

Who we are

St Benedict's Community Centre Incorporated provides a place for people in our community to come for friendship, advocacy, support and a meal. St Benedict’s service is a co-operative initiative delivered jointly by Queanbeyan’s Anglican Church, Baptist Church, Catholic Church, Celebration Community, and Uniting Church.

Our hope is that our community has a plentiful supply of housing, access to education, an abundance of nutritional food, opportunities to work and participate in our community, and access to health services.

What we are seeking to achieve

St Benedict’s Vision

Inspired by the life and witness of Jesus, St Benedict’s seeks to create safe and welcoming environments where people are loved into life and wholeness.

What we are about

St Benedict’s Mission

A local caring community where all are welcome in the spirit of Christ and are offered practical support and respectful relationships to change lives.

What we believe and how we go about it

St Benedict’s Values

  • Creating a caring and accepting place where people are listened to

  • Our stories matter

  • Filling the gaps through timely, flexible, and creative responses tailored for the context

  • Connecting people and resources and providers with purpose

  • Building and sharing trust for mutual benefit

  • Giving generously, and receiving with grace, what we offer each other

  • Walking with each other to find a way through

What does St Benedict’s do ?

St Benedict’s utilises 'Annie's' a centre in Karabar. In addition to the provision of emergency relief this facility provides opportunities for marginalised people who may be at risk of homelessness to build social support and friendship networks in a safe and friendly environment. It also enables St Benedict’s to provide some skills training, work experience and mentoring for clients and others to enable them to increase their employability and obtain an employer reference.

St Benedict’s provides a free nutritious meal 4 days a week in a cafe style dining area with a welcoming, friendly atmosphere. Because St Benedict’s provides meals it has become a focal point in Queanbeyan for people who are in crisis, or need accommodation, which in turn means it is ideally placed to intervene early in poor situations and stabilise them. St Benedict’s approach is to provide support to enable people to stabilise their lives and become self-reliant or to transition to ongoing support.

St Benedict’s has long been recognised as the “service of last resort” in the Queanbeyan region because no-one is turned away. St Benedict’s staff are skilled at assembling an immediate response for people in crisis, be it, accommodation, food parcels, or referrals, with the objective of keeping them safe and sustaining them until a permanent solution can be found.

St Benedict’s service delivery model connects people to services that support them back into the community, the workforce and to health care so they can decrease, or move permanently away from, on-going dependence on welfare. St Benedict’s practice is to work with its clients and other agencies to support them until a sustainable solution is found. St Benedict’s will know that it has achieved its desired outcomes because the person will no longer require help because they have transitioned to another agency or be living in sustainable accommodation.

St Benedict’s Charter

A local caring community where all are welcome in the spirit of Christ and are offered practical support and respectful relationships to change lives.

To be part of this community we commit, together with you, to:

  • Work to make sure you receive the best possible assistance to

    • Establish and maintain a home

    • Participate in a meaningful way in the community, learning, working and sharing life together

  • Work in a manner that dignifies and respects each member of this community in their uniqueness and differences, embracing the diversity implied by gender, religious, cultural, or linguistic backgrounds, sexual orientation, age, disability or family status, etc.

  • Respect personal privacy and confidentiality.

As an inclusive and welcoming community, we:

  • Will work with you in seamless and wholistic manner to determine your needs. This may include managing your situation in a way that suits you.

  • Match available resources from St Benedict’s and other existing services to your needs. We work to overcome the barriers and gaps that are encountered in your life to bring about transformation and change.

  • Encourage active participation in decisions that affect you individually and that affect the operation of St Benedict’s.

  • Expect honest and accurate information that lead to open, trusting and effective relationships. This will help achieve the outcomes you need.

  • Encourage feedback/a complaint when things don’t work well; and insight into your experience when things go well. All feedback will be used to improve our relationships, our way of working, and the outcomes you desire.

St Benedict’s is a safe place for everyone. To make this happen, we:

  • Ensure safety and health regulations are met.

  • Respect each other in word and deed.

    • Use kind words and actions that promote acceptance, hope and welcome.

    • All are welcome and included, however behavior that affects the safety and well-being of others (guests, volunteers and staff) can sometimes lead to exclusion for a period of time. After this, you can choose to be welcomed back.

  • Respect the rules

St Benedict’s Strategic Plan

1. Philosophy and Culture – What we are about

We aim to provide a healthy community place where our guests are supported and empowered to achieve independence.

Our priorities are to:

  • Identify and understand our guest’s needs.

  • Offer services that are effective, accessible and professional.

  • Remain faithful to our values.

2. Painting the Picture – Vision of where we are going

We aim to identify and communicate guest needs to our partners and deliver food, shelter, advocacy and community services to meet the needs of those guests.

Our priorities are to:

  • Maintain flexible work practices that respond to changing guest needs.

  • Coordinate our services with those of our partners.

  • Operate to our capacity delivering quality outcomes.

  • Enrich the lives of those involved with St Benedict’s Community Centre.

3. Stakeholders – Our relationships

We aim to maintain positive, constructive relationships with our partners and guests to optimise coordination and address service demands.

Our priorities are to:

  • Maintain positive working relationships with our stakeholder networks.

  • Establish partnership agreements where appropriate.

  • Explore opportunities for new partnerships.

  • Coordinate with our partners to respond to guest needs.

  • Enhance relationships through regular meetings between the Coordinator of St Benedict’s Community Centre and the Manager of HOME in Queanbeyan.

  • Foster close relationships between St Benedict’s and Government and non-Government organisations working to support homeless and disadvantaged people in our community.

  • Ensure a strong reputation, role and brand in the community, local businesses and services sector.

4. Capacity – A sustainable business model

We aim to maintain our existing range of services while deepening our capacity to comprehensively address guest needs.

Our priorities are to:

  • Achieve financial sustainability by increasing the number, value and diversity of funding sources and their reliability.

  • Secure pre-commitments from our supporters.

  • Exercise prudence in the use of financial resources.

  • Build the skills and capacity of our staff and volunteers.

  • Improve our recruitment, induction and training processes.

  • Secure volunteer commitment through increased numbers and improved engagement and rostering arrangements.

5. Governance – Sound, compliant business processes

We aim to implement sound business processes to effectively and efficiently manage our assets, operations, staff and volunteers, risks and finances to legislative, regulatory and community standards.

Our priorities are to:

  • Ensure Board membership and consultancies reflect expertise required.

  • Establish and implement a policy and procedural framework.

  • Improve workplace procedures and practices.

  • Develop and implement an improved WHS system.

  • Implement risk treatments identified in the risk management plan.

  • Implement sound financial, records and administrative practices.

  • Achieve financial reporting compliance through an annual external audit of accounts.

  • Achieve compliance with NSW Department of Family and Community Services grant conditions and audit requirements.

  • Present accurate financial accounts to the Board each month.

  • Ensure our insurances are appropriate and current.

6. Services – How we help others

We aim to provide a range of services that collectively meet the needs of our guests while tailoring those services to meet the individual needs of each guest.

Our priorities are to:

  • Provide tailored services to more than 500 guests each year.

  • Improve the levels of pro-bono professional support available to guests

  • Ensure an abundance of nutritional food for guests.

  • Provide basic personal needs to guests such as food, showering and laundry.

  • Assist a high percentage of guests in need to find suitable housing.

  • Provide access to education services at levels appropriate to the guest.

  • Provide access to health services to meet guest needs.

  • Provide opportunities for volunteers and guests to work and participate in our community.

Who are St Benedict’s clients and what are their needs ?

While much of Queanbeyan and surrounding areas rank as advantaged there are significant pockets of poverty and disadvantage. St Benedict’s assists people who:

  • are homeless or at risk of homelessness;

  • have mental health issues and/or have addictions;

  • are on low incomes who are struggling with the cost of living and need assistance with rent, electricity, gas, and telephone bills, medical expenses and food;

  • have low levels of formal education who may find it difficult to, and need assistance with, accessing services.

How much do St Benedict’s services cost to provide ?

St Benedict’s has over 60 active volunteers in its kitchen and is also supported by the provision of surplus food from local food rescue services This means that the vast majority of donations are directed to assisting clients in the form of accommodation, food parcels, and other needs.

St Benedict’s is highly efficient. In FY 2019-20 it spent approximately $14,900 directly purchasing food which it leveraged into 15,700 meals (or food parcels) with a “street” value of approximately $235,500.

Extract from 2019-20 Annual Report

As is the nature of St Benedict’s Community Centre, staff and volunteers have responded to changing needs of the local community, revealing the need people have for stable accommodation, access to nutritious food, and connection to others who care. This past year has seen the challenge of bushfires around Queanbeyan and down to the South Coast, storms, and the ongoing impact of COVID-19.


Our activities have been funded by government, community organisations and donations from the local community.

The NSW Government Specialist Homelessness Services Program (Sector Support Fund) is our main funding body.

Donations from the wider community has allowed us to provide material assistance to people such as purchasing microwaves, medications, and transport to get to secure accommodation or health services.

ClubGrants provided money for us to run the kitchen to provide meals and other food services.

Guest Services

Orange Sky Laundry sets up outside St Benedict’s Community Centre twice a week and provides laundry services and good conversations. This compliments and enhances the work of St Benedict's of being a space for acceptance and care.

In addition to the support provided by the churches in the Queanbeyan community, the Celebration Community (part of the Anglican Church community) has a leading role in St Benedict’s provision of homelessness support and complex case management.

Safe Shelter ran through the winter months in Canberra and Queanbeyan in 2019, and neither were able to open in 2020 because of COVID-19. The aim of these organisations is to provide access to church hall floors for guests to sleep, accompanied by volunteers who ensure the venue remains a safe place for all. The Canberra shelter only accepts single men, but Queanbeyan opened its doors to single women. 14 guests of St Benedict's accessed Safe Shelter Queanbeyan and 4 accessed Safe Shelter Canberra.

We work closely with the Queanbeyan office of the NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DJCI). Strong and positive cooperation enables us to provide our clients with advocacy and help them to short and long term accommodation. Emphasis in 2019-2020 was on outreach to people sleeping rough, and helping identify the need and type of services required.

In May NSW Health organised free flu vaccines for our guests. Over 20 people participated.

Working very closely with Karabar Housing, we were able to help 3 of our guests move into Karabar Housing properties. In addition we have helped Karabar Housing tenenats maintain their tenancies.


A cornerstone service is the provision of nourishing food to our guests, including lunch five days per week. This includes food donated by:

  • SecondBite (Coles) and OzHarvest.

  • Community groups including: Harris Park Pre-School, Campbell Street Pre-school and Southwell Scouts (Brindabella Venturers)

  • Businesses with food left over from functions.

  • Individuals - a thank you to those who gave as a one off, to those who give regularly

Food distribution started at "Annie's" (a centre provided by Celebration Community). This has shifted the large food delivery from OzHarvest to where there is a cool room. Over the year, 40 individuals came on Saturday afternoons to share the rescued food. Most of the food is then brought to St Benedict's to be used in the kitchen or shared with other guests who cannot come to Karabar.

Bushfire Response

With bushfires starting in areas surrounding Queanbeyan in January 2020, St Benedict's was able to respond quickly to the immediate and ongoing needs of people affected. This included driving a ute load of food, clothing, and toiletries to the Nerriga Pub straight after the fire had passed through.

For the fires down the coast, we were able to share our donations with those communities to give to people who were in dire need.


The lock down associated with COIVID-19 saw immediate change to how food and services were provided. The changes kept coming as the realities of life with the pandemic developed.

From March to June, we had to work out how to ensure food was available to our guests, and especially to those who were homeless. Meals are now given out in takeaway containers over a longer period of time to avoid crowds and queues forming.

Staff had to put in place safe practices to meet people who had no access to technology, and were in need of finding accommodation. There was a change in the guest cohort as JobSeeker payments were made available. A number of our regular guests no longer needed assistance as they had enough money to maintain their accommodation and to get food. Numbers of people who lost their jobs accessed services for the first time, looking to get onto payments and to get food.

The greatest loss for most of our guests was access to a safe place and connection to other people, as well as ready access to services such as LegalAid and OrangeSky Laundry.


An exciting opportunity is developing in Queanbeyan for the implementation of a Sleep Bus. St Benedict's as part of Q-HAC (Queanbeyan Housing Action Collective) has started the initiative to bring a SleepBus to Queanbeyan. This will hopefully give people a safe alternative to sleeping rough. Although initially planned to be launched by early winter 2020, COVID-19 has seen this been put on hold

St Benedict's staff and volunteers assisted greatly in Q-HAC's fundraising 24 Hours Without Event. This was to raise the money to build and launch the Sleepbus. This event saw 6 local business owners go through a 24 hour experience of being homeless in Queanbeyan and surrounds. They experienced scenarios, learnt about available services, and had their hearts changed about people experiencing homelessness.

As a result the owner of the Hotel Queanbeyan has been generous in providing rooms to people on the recommendation of St Benedict's. To the end of the financial year, 16 guests have been able to secure weekly accommodation. For most this has been a positive experience whilst waiting for longer term accommodation.


Volunteers are a valued part of the community outreach of St Benedict’s. Making guests feel welcome, giving them hope and encouragement and reducing social isolation are just some of the benefits from our volunteers. Volunteers cook and serve lunch and help keep our amenities in good order. They also contribute company, and friendship. Volunteers provide administrative support to increase the effectiveness of paid staff.

Volunteers can be individuals or church, school and social groups who give their time. All are very welcome. We also have guests who give back by volunteering their services where appropriate.

Further to these opportunities, prior to COVID-19 St Benedict's offered placements for people participating in the Work for the Dole Scheme.

Some of our guests have been able to participate in the Work Development Order scheme to reduce their debt to State Revenue. The relief of the financial burden of this debt has been helpful, but it has been encouraging to see participants grow in confidence and ability in a work environment.


The Board is very grateful to the staff for their care and commitment to the work of St Benedict’s. Like most community organisations, our staff show every day that this is not ‘just a job’. Casual staff have been welcomed to the team, and most volunteer regularly throughout the year. Like most community organisations, our staff show every day that this is not 'just a job'. This was especially highlighted with the pressures of change and uncertainty of COVID-19, in ensuring all could be kept well and safe whilst still delivering effective services.


A small number of students from both Canberra Institute of Technology and Australian Catholic University were able to complete placements with St Benedict's. This was an opportunity for them to put theory into practice.


We have been blessed with a very active although small board. Moving towards ASES accreditation has meant that policies and procedures have thoroughly reviewed.


Reflecting connectedness to our local community, there are many generous donations of cash, foodstuffs and all kinds of practical items from community members.

Some donations were sourced through the charity GIVIT, meaning items can be matched directly with those in need without St Benedict's having to store them.

It was touching to see the immediate and huge response to bushfire needs with GIVIT helping us to get an abundance of toiletries, bed linen, and sleeping bags. Donations not only came from our local area, but nationally, and even from overseas.

Be assured that all donations are valued and passed on to people who need the support

Future Plans

Accreditation under the Australian Service Excellence Standards (ASES) is required by our our main funding body, the NSW Department of Communities and Justice. The staff and board of St Benedict's are committed to use this requirement to further enhance and improve our work within the local community.