11 December, 2008


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.


armybarmy said...

awesome vision Liam. Actually, we did something like this for women who had been prostituted in vancouver.. now one is going in London as well. Basically it's a three day retreat (top of the line) that is about refreshment, relaxing and love... it's a full blown holiday package offered free of charge to those who need it most. To witness it unfold is like watching the Kingdom of God... it's incredible. i say let's do it!!

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Yes a glimpse of the kingdom of God, as this vision could only be realized through God's power.

I like the concepts of holidays for those who may otherwise miss out!

I like the challenge of addressing unemployment and reintergration into the work force.

Big challenges! Big ideas, not sure how it all comes together but I think the kingdom of God is beyond what we can comprehend.


JUSTsalvos said...

I like it Liam! Though could the social worker traveling with the client would be down graded to optional? I am not thinking of the social worker, I am thinking of the client. I think they might want a little space from their worker? It could be seen as patriarchal? But I'll go with my Ressie families! Sign me up!

Liam said...


I agree about the patriarchal aspect of the social worker attending. I was thinking in more of a visionary ideal, like the Lion and the Lamb laying down together.

It challenges the professional / client mentality and asks the 'professional' to relate on a non-professional basis. I think some professional social workers might struggle in those shoes and others would flourish.