Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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St Kilda

‘The Well’ – A St Kilda Sanctuary


‘The Well’ is situated at 12B Chapel Street, St Kilda.  Nestled between the old Presbyterian mansion (Windana) and the Cloyne mansion (Cheder Levi Yitzchok) it can often be overlooked.  Not as imposing as most of the other heritage buildings that line this aptly named street, the little chapel has been part of the St Kilda community for 160 years in one form or another.  The blue stone, stained-glass windows and high vaulted ceilings tells us of its past, but now reimagined as ‘The Well at St Kilda Chapel’ it tells us of it’s future.

The tradition of community has continued within its walls and grounds through the leadership of Salvation Army Major – Narelle Jacobsen.  Her ambition – a modern approach to engage with community.  Narelle and her resourceful team labored in the restoration of the site to create what they considered a ‘home away from home’ a safe place for all to enjoy.  The objective being to provide St Kilda with a sanctuary where residents can freely access creative expression, spirituality, assistance, ease of interaction, and nurturing through their open-door policy filling the void of usual community hubs.

The success of her idea has now placed ‘The Well’ as a prototype on the Salvation Army podium.

The bluestone chapel has been converted into a comfortable space ready for group interaction, connection or quiet ‘tet-a-tet’.  Leather couches, quirky private nooks and a small fully equipped stage are all there under the lofty wooden arches inviting all to relax, connect or create.  The community is now welcomed with a beautiful garden, a barista café, a home-cooked lunch on Friday and plenty of activity options.

Involvement is the cornerstone of ‘The Well’, whether it be gardening, tending vegetable plots, upcycling wood program, art activity, distress (meditation and mindfulness) class or simply just relaxing with a coffee.  There is also the encouragement to explore/rediscover your own skill set to use, advance or enhance ‘The Well’ concept.

Also of great importance is the ‘Doorways’ program for crisis assistance. This provides recipients with financial help, food and case management in times of hardship.

‘The Well’ runs solely on a volunteer and donation basis and is currently running a fundraising event through The Red Shield Appeal to raise funds.  The High Tea and Auction fundraiser which will be held on 23 June, 2024 at The Well at St Kilda Chapel, needs assistance in participation and with the provision of items/goods for auction.

We are reaching out to local artists and businesses to donate works or vouchers to make this event a success.

Your support will ensure that ‘The Well’ can continue providing care and inspiration for our community.

Author – Clunie Walker

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