Foothills Community Care is a not-for-profit grassroots Christian organisation which walks alongside those who are in need of a safe place to connect in the Dandenong Ranges, Knox and surrounding foothills areas.
Who We Are & What We Do
Established in 2002, Foothills provides safe spaces where people can connect and engage as they address challenges such as family and domestic violence, addictions, homelessness, poverty, food insecurity, mental health, and social isolation. Many of our friends come from challenging backgrounds, and we seek to create spaces offering dignity and hope without judgment, where people can feel safe, valued and loved.
Our connection often begins by providing a hearty, nutritious, home-cooked meal to all who walk in. However, it is much more than just a meal, it is a welcome into a positive and inclusive community for people who may not connect anywhere else. For many it is a hand up, not a handout.
To create open and inclusive communities of love and acceptance, overcoming isolation and despair.
Our vision is a world where everybody is able to live in safe, warm, inclusive communities. We work to combat despair, isolation and loneliness with acceptance, hospitality, love, community and grace.
“Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines.” Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out
A Brief History of Foothills Community Care
Foothills Community Care began in early 2002, as a small group of friends looking to respond to local needs in the Ferntree Gully and surrounding area. It begun in partnership with Foothills Community Church (later Foothills Neighbourhood Communities) Both were auspiced under the banner of Churches of Christ Victorian/Tasmanian Conference.
Our first Ferntree Gully Christmas Day Lunch began on December 25, 2002. This was an expression of a community partnership, responding to local needs within the community after speaking with many locals, and local community groups, churches and Knox Council.
In 2003 Knox Council invited us to provide the suppers at their Citizenship Ceremonies. This was a great opportunity to welcome new citizens into our community through serving good food and at the same time provide some much needed resources to fund our other projects. This has continued for the past 13 years, about 6-8 times per year. It also speaks well of our partnerships with local community, particularly Knox City Council.
Ferntree Gully Community Meal Night commenced on Wednesday evenings in early 2007. Providing weekly home-cooked nutritious meals to locals, as well as providing a supportive community environment, these nights continue to be important places of connection for so many locals. Over that time we have served over 30,000 meals in over 500 Wednesday evenings. Most nights see around 65 people gather together for a chat and a meal.
In 2009 we commenced a second community meal night, on a Tuesday evening in the Mountain Gate estate of Ferntree Gully. This continued for 3 years until the end of 2012 when we hit the pause button on the night. This was due to our main coordinator not being able to continue due to her other work commitments. We started looking around for a suitable replacement. Little did we know then what would happen later.
Throughout 2014 and 2015 we looked and researched other possible areas of need to commence another meal night, having found a suitable coordinator. Unfortunately our previous Mountain Gate premises was not available. Late 2015, in partnership with Upwey Baptist Church, we commenced our Monday night Upwey Community Meal Night, serving the local hills community.
Also in 2015 we came across a small group of committed people, providing frozen home-cooked meals to those in need in the hills area. Community Casseroles had commenced in early 2015 and by late 2015 had grown to the point of providing 100 meals per month. In late 2015 a partnership was struck and Community Casseroles became a project of Foothills Community Care, continuing to deliver nutritious home-cooked frozen meals to locals of the hills who need a hand for a short period of time.
All of these Community Meals and Christmas Lunches rely heavily on a team of committed volunteers. We are incredibly grateful to those who give of their time, energies and skills to serve our local communities. We currently have over 200 volunteers regularly giving of their time throughout the year.
Who We Are Auspiced By
Foothills Community Care is a CareWorks partner affiliated with Churches of Christ in Victoria & Tasmania (CCVT). For more information click here.
- To provide home-cooked, nutritious meals to locals who are not able to access them regularly.
- To provide a safe, positive, welcoming environment for people to connect with others; building positive and inclusive community.
- To provide a meaningful way for locals to volunteer and give back to their community, including young people from local schools.
We rely heavily on volunteers from the local community to help run our programs. Each year we have over 200 volunteers participate, some are weekly, some are one-off. We’re also proactive in offering opportunities for students to get involved. We believe it’s important to provide all people within our community a meaningful way to contribute. All potential volunteers must apply via our online application form, which can be found in the ‘support’ section of our website.
Child Safety and Safe Places
Foothills Community Care has a zero tolerance policy in relation to abuse of vulnerable people including children, and adopts the CCVT Child Safety Policy. All our volunteers have a current Working With Children’s Check and undergo regular training in Child Safety.
Alan Tudge MP, Federal Member for Aston
Aldi, Ferntree Gully
Anytime Fitness, Ferntree Gully
Babajis – Belgrave
Belgrave Heights Christian School
Bena Angliss Kindergarten, Ferntree Gully
Berry Direct, Bayswater
Bendigo Community Bank -
Bendigo Community Bank - Rowville
Besen Family Trust
Bespoke Event Hire, Bayswater
Bill’s of Belgrave, Belgrave
Bodacious Coffee - Knoxfield
Boronia and Bayswater Community Church of Christ
Bright Church, Wantirna South
Burrinja Gallery, Upwey
Chosen Beans Café, Ferntree Gully
Churchill-Waverley Golf and Bowls Club
Coles Fresh Produce Team
Community Bank - Knox Group
Coonara House, Upper Ferntree Gully
Couple of Coins, Coffee Roasting
Dandenong Ranges Bendigo Community Bank
Dominos - Ferntree Gully
Earthly Pleasures Café, Belgrave
Eastern Community Legal Centre
Ferntree Gully Baptist Church
Ferntree Gully Cricket Club
Ferntree Gully Guides
Ferntree Gully News
Ferntree Gully North Primary School
Ferntree Gully Rotary Club
Ferntree Gully Salvation Army
Ferntree Gully Uniting Church
Glenfern Bakery, Ferntree Gully
Hari Krusha Fries HKF - Ferntree Gully
Here and There Makers
Hills Loving Stitches, The Basin
Hills Op Shop, Ferntree Gully
Hope on Fridays, Tecoma
Hochi Mini - Ferntree Gully
Impression Print – Bayswater
Jackson Taylor MP, Bayswater
James Merlino MP, Monbulk
Joy Smith Family Foundation
Kilsyth South Baptist Church
Knox Business Connects
Knox City Council
Knox Emergency Relief Network
Knox Environment Society
Lions Club of Heathmont
Lorna Cafe - Ferntree Gully
Marie Cafe – Upwey
Medibank I give Better
Melbourne Basket Brigade
Micah Cafe - Ferntree Gully
Mountain District Learning Centre, Ferntree Gully
Nick Love Cartoons
Nick Wakeling MP, Ferntree Gully
OBrien Realestate - Tecoma
One Community – Blackburn
Outer East food Share
Paella Lady – Belgrave
Paradise Valley Hotel, Clematis
Ranahans Fine Food – Boronia
Ray White Real Estate, Ferntree Gully
Red Coral Seafood – Bayswate
Ringwood Church of Christ
Rowville & Lysterfield Rotary Club
Rowville Uniting Church
Royal Hotel, Upper Ferntree Gully
Share the Dignity
Sherbrooke Children's Centre – Upwey
Shree Swaminarayan Temple – Boronia
St John the Baptist, Ferntree Gully
Station Street Food Co. - Ferntree Gully
Storage King Knoxfield
Tecoma Uniting Church
The Basin Community House
The Eatery - Tecoma
The Foothills Foundation
Top Nosh Food Catering
Uniting Harrison Family Services
Upper Ferntree Gully Cricket Club
Upwey Cricket Club
Upwey High School
Upwey South Primary School
Wantirna Lions Club
Warren Glen Cafe – Warrandyte
Wattleview Primary School
Whole Food Merchants - Ferntree Gully
WF Montague Pty Ltd
Yarra Ranges Council
Yarra Ranges Emergency Relief Network
Yarra Valley Water