“Home is like hell. We have nowhere to go but the pub. Doesn’t anyone care about us?”
These angry words of a gang kid in 1971 prompted George Farrington, the leader of a church youth group, to gather a caring group of people around him to see if there was something that could be done to meet the need of troubled, angry and disadvantaged youths who didn’t fit in with the community or the church youth group scene.
Open House began in 1971 to provide a safe place and positive activities for troubled young people – an alternative to the pub.
Over the years Open House has grown in many ways to offer opportunities to a diverse range of people. Open House has responded to community needs by providing friendship and support through activities for people (children, youth and adults) who are suffering loneliness, isolation, distress, anxiety, mental illness or struggling with addiction or dysfunction, or those who don’t fit in school or are wrestling with growing up issues.
We believe that the development of positive friendships and support help people grow through the struggles and circumstances of their lives.
Many of the original founders are still actively involved in Open House at volunteer, board or adviser level.
Having had several bases through the years, including a long period in Ivanhoe, Open House is now based at a former Uniting Church site in Macleod, Victoria just a five minute walk from the shops or railway station.
We have a large hall, the Welcome Centre – with full catering facilities, workshops, youth worker offices, and the former manse which we have converted to our administration and meeting centre. We also have large grounds which are being progressively converted into community space – both indoors and outdoors.