McAuley House Gets a Fitness Boost

February 2015
There’s a buzz in the air at McAuley House thanks to an injection of funds by StreetSmart for equipment for our recreation program. The grant, for a range of health related products, was made to McAuley House as part of StreetSmart’s CafeSmart Community Small Grants program.

StreetSmart supports small, grassroots homeless organisations with limited fundraising options or capacity and McAuley House certainly fits the bill. In the 2013-14 financial year McAuley House supported 93 women and all were homeless, 30% had experienced family violence and 73% had a mental health diagnosis and chronic physical condition.

McAuley House’s recreation program offers holistic health activities such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, soul healing group and a massage therapist who provides massages once a fortnight. Many of the residents suffer from back pain, poor circulation, injuries, diabetes, obesity and other conditions that limit their ability to exercise and cause them great stress and frustration.

“We see the women benefit enormously from these activities which provide relaxation, stress relief and pain relief. Thanks to this grant we can enhance this aspect of the recreation program,” said recreation worker Leonie Lawrence.

Through the StreetSmart grant McAuley House can now purchase health products including a circulation booster, hand massager, seated massage cushion, juicer and blender.

“The massage therapist is our most popular recreation activity and many residents with chronic pain want to book in with her every visit, but this is not possible as she can only see two people per fortnight. The hand massager and seated massager will be put to great use in between the massage therapists visits and will offer a great service to the women,” Leonie said.

“We also run a cooking program and we have introduced and encouraged healthier eating habits. With this new kitchen equipment we can introduce fresh juices and green smoothies to the diets of our residents who want to increase nutrition or lose weight.”

The recreation program also received a boost from STREAT after they donated 250 coffee vouchers for the women who use our services. STREAT is a social enterprise that tackles youth disadvantage and homelessness by providing the life-skills, support networks, work experience and training young people for a career in hospitality. STREAT’s five Melbourne based cafes, catering and coffee roasting businesses are the main training venues.

The STREAT people responded to our ‘call out’ for vouchers with this generous donation, so support our supports and check out the website at

Caption: Eleni Kyrpigikidis form McAuley Community Services for Women accepts the coffee vouchers from STREAT’s Caitlin Harris.