Churches serve four in ten Tasmanians

A clothing hub, a full-scale commercial kitchen and anti-discrimination advocacy are featured in an inspiring snapshot of the work done by people of faith across Tasmania.

In the first state-wide audit of its kind, a new report reveals that churches and faith groups in Tasmania contributed over $70 million in social impact in 2023, with nearly two million beneficiary interactions.

Civic leaders and faith community groups came together in Hobart on 7 March to release the report. During a panel discussion, they addressed the top social issues in Tasmania, such as social isolation and support for migrants to Hobart, and how community and faith groups are meeting those needs.

The report showed in the past year 37.5 per cent of the Tasmanian population – almost four in ten – were served by churches and faith groups.

Using the NAYBA Impact Audit tool, which will be rolled out to other states, the report quantifies how people of faith, predominantly Christians, are meeting social needs at state, regional and local levels.

NAYBA’s latest audit reveals that accommodation, food and material assistance, unemployment support, disability support and counselling are the leading services offered to the community. This aligns with the finding that the top three social issues being addressed in Tasmania are social isolation and loneliness, mental health, financial and food insecurity.

NAYBA helps local churches to love their neighbours and transform neighbourhoods.

NAYBA Australia national director Nic Mackay said: “As Christians, we are called to love our neighbour and it’s encouraging to see that while there are many challenges every day Australians are facing, churches and faith groups are helping vulnerable members of the community and it’s making a difference to the everyday lives of Tasmanians.

“Tasmania’s natural beauty is world-renowned, but Tassie’s greatest asset is its people. That’s why the results of this audit are so encouraging. Nearly four out of every ten Tasmanians were supported by churches and faith groups in the last year alone.

“We believe the role of the faith community in Tasmania is absolutely critical. From small churches and places of worship in remote parts of the state through to large faith-based agencies and ministries in major cities and towns, faith groups can and should serve to strengthen the ties that bind us, lift those who are struggling, and offer hope.

“This report presents so much good news that is worth celebrating. More importantly, however, it provides an opportunity for churches and faith groups to combine the strength of their efforts, identify issues not currently being addressed, and be part of building a Tasmania in which all people can flourish.”

NAYBA National Director Nic Mackay and Archbishop Julian Porteous

Services highlighted in the report include a clothing hub run by Hobart City Church that kits out those in need with quality wardrobe essentials; a full-scale commercial kitchen that produces over 2000 meals a week and provides traineeships for young people at Grace Church Centre in partnership with Loaves and Fishes; and a faith-based organisation that stands up against prejudice and discrimination, Religions for Peace Tasmania.

It is hoped that the report will inspire new initiatives and partnerships in Christians’ efforts to offer tangible love, hope and new life.

Results from the statewide survey include:

  • 164 survey responses (45 per cent of all faith-based organisations in Tasmania).
  • 284 community service activities (addressing 13 of the greatest social needs)
  • 1,901,479 total beneficiary interactions in the last year.
  • $70 million in social impact value for Tasmania each year.
  • 2,089,475 total paid hours a year.
  • 450,000  total volunteer hours a year.