With a fresh coat of paint and a new lease on life, Cessnock’s former St Vincent de Paul cottage is now home to the Spirit of Giving Fundraising Hub.

Located at 6A Cumberland Street, the Hub was founded to provide an outreach service for local people in need, and to formalise fundraising activity for the Cessnock Christian Christmas Day Luncheon (which is held annually at Cessnock Uniting Church’s Wesley Hall).

Spirit of Giving received $9908 from Cessnock Leagues Club’s 2023 ClubGRANTS program, which was put towards installing internal and external electrical and security systems at the cottage.

The Hub was painted by Joblink Plus participants earlier this year and now offers free laundry facilities on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays (by appointment on 0484 866 478 or 0419 275 450).

It will eventually have showers and toilets and access to professional services such as legal, financial, health and hairdressing.

Overall, it will be a place that provides a warm and safe environment for a chat, a cup of tea and a friendly face – something that is greatly needed in the Cessnock community.

Spirit of Giving founders Rob and Helen Dyball said they would like to thank Cessnock Hospitality Group for its generous support.

“This will enable us to provide an outreach service to the needy, lonely and homeless – the forgotten members of our community – and to address the welfare needs of each recipient with dignity, self-respect and ensuring confidentiality and privacy is maintained at all times,” Mr and Mrs Dyball said.

Spirit of Giving was one of 16 recipients that received a share of $87,870 in funding from Cessnock Leagues Club’s 2023 ClubGRANTS Category 1 Program, which funds projects, services and programs that benefit the local community, such as welfare and social services, community development, health services and employment assistance.

“Cessnock Hospitality Group is well aware of the hardships facing many in the community with increases in the cost of living,” CHG president Bruce Wilson said.

“In making allocations to various charities it looks at those who can make a difference for those in need. This is one of the areas that Spirit of Giving is most active in with its wide range of services on offer.”

Application for the 2024 ClubGRANTS program will open in April.

Meanwhile, applications for Cessnock Leagues Club’s Category 2 funds – including the Cessnock Rural Fire Service Fund, Cessnock Schools Education Fund and Sports & Community Groups Fund – are open year-round, with grants allocated quarterly.

PICTURED: Spirit of Giving Fundraising Hub founders Helen and Robert Dyball with Cessnock Hospitality Group president Bruce Wilson (centre) outside the hub in Cumberland Street.