Colleen – The world’s largest tea pot

colleen 1

Recently I have been meeting with a small collective of passionate Asset Based Community Development Practitioners from World Vision, Compassion, TEAR Australia, Uniting Communities, Tabor College and the Churches of Christ in SA & NT.

One of the purposes of this gathering has been to get some of the stories of where good asset based community development is already happening.

To that end each of these practitioners has agreed to share at least one story from their own organisation/work here on this blog so we can begin to collect a bit of a storybook.

I am really excited to share the first of those stories (and I might add one of my personal favourites from South Australia) today.

This story comes to you curtesy of my good friend Rev. Peter McDonald who is the Minister on placement at Uniting Communities.

I chose this story today also because I will be sharing Colleen’s story in one of my study sessions at the Surrender Conference this weekend.

The following is reblogged with permission 

Colleen – The world’s largest tea pot

Tea Party 2

The two things that some seniors worry about is 1) pushing out the wheelie bin on bin night and 2) not knowing the name of a close by neighbour – with whom they can say hi a couple of times a week.  So if they pop your clogs someone notices!We at Uniting Communities have a group of imaginative staff who want to help senior stay at home (and out of aged care) for as long as possible.We thought that the local community is best placed to help with wheelie bins and knowing each others names.  What we have to do is find a creative reason to get locals to have a chat to each other.

1403 Colleen Rotary

Imagine you receive an invitation to a morning tea and scones at the world’s largest tea pot.  Would you walk down you street to see the sight?You arrive and to your surprise you discover the worlds largest tea pot.  A lovingly restored 1950s caravan has come to your street.You have a close look at her shape and design and all the work that has gone into restoring her to her former glory.  You chat with your neighbours about Colleen and her tea cosies.  After a while conversations moves from Colleen to who and what is going on in your street.

Tea Party 1

Andwhen the questions gets asked

“Is anyone willing to help a neighbour by saying hi and rolling out her wheelie bin?”

There are always plenty of volunteers!

Locals often make a commitment to catch up more often and we move on – leaving behind folk who now know their neighbours. This makes the community safer for seniors and better connected for all.

Love Colleen?  Faith in Action is a group which discusses the principles behind Colleen and how they might be applied to your place.  Please consider coming to one of our monthly workshops

.1403 TeaCosiesColleen cakesColleen selfie with Flamingos1309 Teapots on tree lge - Copy

Colleen the Tea Pot is a collaborative project between Uniting Communities, Campbelltown Council and The Eastern Regions Men’s Shed of Rotary and wide a group of supporters.

For the full story about Colleen, her restoration and her visits go to her website

UPDATE: Colleen’s story has recently been taken up by the ABC here

For more stories like this one from World Vision, Compassion, TEAR and local Churches please be sure to subscribe to this blog through the link in the top right hand corner.

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