I was away on holidays two weeks ago and I had a lovely time. I got to thinking about the need people have for holidays, especially those people in our society who would never have an opportunity for a holiday.
People like a single mum who lives on Centrelink benefits or a person suffering from severe mental health issues who lives in a boarding house.
The more I thought about the situation the clearer the solution became in my mind, so I thought I would share it with you incomplete though it is.
I saw an organisation (or a church, or a wealthy family, etc.) purchasing an accommodation facility at a semi-popular tourist destination. Not too popular as the entertainment and food in the town might be too expensive for the clientele. The venue would be run as a retreat centre for people in need of a low cost holiday. Because the venture needs to be profitable it would also need to cater for business retreats and conventions as a revenue-raising side business. This would also ensure that the accommodation and food is of a quality standard, rather than a slap dash charity deal.
Being a retreat centre it would offer a range of activities for people who might not otherwise know how to organise their own holiday. It would offer free children's activities and a crèche so parents are able to have a day or two to themselves. Of course it would offer opportunities for spiritual reflection and guided retreats.
The retreat would be staffed by local people who were being reskilled and retrained after long term unemployment. It could also offer opportunities to people returning to the workforce from situations that might otherwise make it difficult to get employment, e.g.. mental health issues or prison. If the manager/owner was savvy enough then this could be facilitated by Job Network funding or Work for the Dole programs.
Obviously people would need to be referred to the retreat centre and there would be a rule that the person who refers someone has to accompany them on their holiday. Imagine a social worker relaxing on the beach with a client. A church family joining a family from their local community to wander through the bush and enjoy God’s creation together. By charging people a percentage of their income this would also help to make the venture more economically viable.
Obviously there are a number of issues that would need to be worked out but I am sure there are people reading this blog who are entrepreneurial enough to work through them.
Wouldn’t a place like that be an example of the kingdom of God breaking into our world?
PS. sorry for the long break in posts.