Strengthening Communities

A positive community environment benefits everyone, but it can be particularly powerful for people facing issues or difficulties.

Whether it is financial difficulties, alcohol, drugs, gambling addiction, violence, legal troubles, or any other challenge, being surrounded by a healthy and constructive community can help people to face their problems and tackle them head on. Once they’ve identified an issue, people can turn to us for help in getting their life back on track.

Through hard work and support initiatives, we’ve become a proud and prominent voice in the Victorian community.

We promote positivity by offering assistance with financial issues, substance abuse, legal help, and localised support for regional areas of the state.


Alcohol and drug support

We provide a community-based response to problem alcohol and drug use, and support for people experiencing drug and alcohol issues.

Our programs and services include:

  • Assessment & referral
  • Individual counselling
  • Group work
  • Community education programs

Download the Pillars of Practice LYFT manual


Broadmeadows Women’s Community House

Broadmeadows Women’s Community House (BWCH) provides a supportive community environment for women to engage in a range of programs and activities. Onsite childcare is available to ensure the house is accessible to physically and socially isolated mothers.

We offer a range of programs including:

  • Pre-vocational, self-development, recreational and support programs
  • Playgroups
  • Parent/child relationship workshops

To view the programs we run each term download our Brochure Here


Communities for Children

As a facilitating partner in the Communities for Children program, we work in consultation with local stakeholders to facilitate programs. The programs help children and their families to increase social connection and improve education and employment outcomes.


Financial counselling

We have one of the largest financial counselling networks in the State and – provide free confidential assistance to Victorians in financial difficulty.

If you are unable to pay your bills, are struggling with paying your mortgage or are being contacted by debt collectors then we may be able to assist you.

Our qualified Financial Counsellors can make assessments on your financial situation and provide assistance by explaining your options if bills can’t be paid. They can suggest payment plans for gas/electricity debts, help deal with credit card and loan repayments and give information on the bankruptcy process. They will also provide you with support on Centrelink and government concession matters. If you have legal, investment and/or taxation concerns our Financial Counsellors can refer you to services that may be able to offer assistance.


Gambler’s help

We understand that for some people gambling ends up causing significant stress and crippling financial issues. When this happens, gambling goes from being a personal issue to a problem that impacts upon the people around you – families, friends and colleagues. That’s why we offer holistic support, including:

  • Free and confidential consults
  • Services to help control and stop gambling
  • Services for family members, friends and carers
  • Financial assistance and budget guidance
  • Technology-based, remote counselling
  • Multilingual services

Legal advice and support

Our Gippsland Community Legal Service (GCLS) provides free legal help to people who live, work or study in Gippsland and surrounding areas. The GCLS provides a range of services, including:

  • Face-to-face legal appointments
  • Community legal education workshops

To find out more, please visit the GCLS website or contact us for further details.


Mental health services

Our mental health support services are recovery focused and aim to reconnect people with their community. With consultation from specialist Case Workers and peer support workers, we offer practical and rehabilitative support including:

  • Assistance with managing everyday tasks;
  • Help connecting individuals with other services including drug & alcohol, housing and medical
  • Assistance in vocational, educational, employment and health pursuits

No Interest Loan Scheme

The No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) provides individuals and families on low incomes access to safe, fair and affordable credit.  Loan amounts can vary but credit can start from $300 to $1500 for essential goods and services. Once your application is approved, repayments are set up at an affordable amount over a 12 to 18 month period.  With NILS, no credit checks are made as this is a program based on trust and support.

Loans are generally for the purchase of essential goods and services. These may include:

  • Household items like fridges, freezers, washing machines, stoves, clothes dryers and some furniture
  • Some medical and dental services
  • Educational essentials such as computers and text books
  • Some other items as requested.

With manageable repayments and a respectful assessment process conducted by an accredited NILS provider, NILS works through a process of circular community credit. When a borrower makes a repayment to NILS, funds are then available to someone else in the community.


Victims Assistance Program

The Victims Assistance Program (VAP) provides services to victims or witnesses of violent crime against the person. VAP staff aim to assist victims to effectively manage and recover from the effects of crime and tailor services to individual’s needs.

The Victims Assistance Program is a free services that provides information, practical assistance and referrals to others services.   It offers support to access the criminal justice system (for both reported and unreported crimes) and to lodge Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT) applications where applicable.

The VAP can help you with:

  • Your day to day needs.
  • Emergency home security.
  • Managing your personal safety.
  • Communicating with police and making a report.
  • Organising counselling, transport and medical services.
  • Getting ready for court.
  • Preparing a Victim Impact Statement.
  • Applying for financial assistance.
  • Getting information about the offender.

The service is available in the following Local Government Areas: Greater Bendigo, Mount Alexander, Central Goldfields, Macedon Ranges, Loddon, Campaspe, Buloke, Ganawarra, Swan Hill and Mildura.

If you are unsure if you are eligible for this service, call the Victims of Crime Helpline on 1800 819 817. The helpline is open 8am to 11pm, 7 days a week. You can also contact the VAP team on 1800 244 323 or 03 5448 1000 or vap@stlukes.org.au.

For Further Information Download the following Fact sheets:

Supporting children and young people in response to the Bourke Street tragedy 

The services and compensation that may be available to people affected by this incident

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