A new Caritas Community Centre described by Archbishop Charles Scicluna as “a beautiful statement of hope” was officially opened by Prime Minister Robert Abela and Mgr Scicluna yesterday following a €5 million investment.

Located in Blata l-Bajda, the new premises will be dedicated to non-residential community services offered by Caritas Malta, whose mission has expanded significantly since it was set up in 1968 to alleviate poverty and promote human development and social justice.

The property was donated to Caritas on a 65-year lease by the Archdiocese of Malta while the funding to refurbish and equip the premises was the result of a collaborative effort involving the National and Development Social Fund (NDSF), the Alfred Mizzi Foundation, the Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation, and the Maltese Council for the Voluntary Sector.

Mgr Scicluna said: “This project shows that we can achieve great things when the Church, State and private enterprise work together.

“By taking care of one another – especially those in most need of help – and overcoming the various differences between us, we can plant seeds of hope in many people’s hearts that can flourish.”

Describing the new centre as a “gift to society”, Dr Abela praised the work carried out by Caritas and its dedicated professionals, which he said provided its clients with the opportunity to make a contribution to the country.

The  Caritas Community Centre brings several services under one roof including administrative offices, an office for Advocacy and Research, the coordination of social work by the Church in parishes and the coordination of prevention work in schools. The centre will also offer its amenities to other Church entities and social organisations for training, meetings as well as social activities.

Caritas Malta director Anthony Gatt, said: “Since we started operating from this building, we have already had a positive effect on the lives of 800 people with various social problems, 700 with drug problems as well as their relatives.

“Together with other Church entities, Caritas has offered support to the parishes in their work with 1,300 families – working on the philosophy that the poor deserve the best and should have access to support with dignity.”

Mr Gatt also recounted a phrase by the first director of Caritas Malta, Fr Victor Grech, who said: “As it pleased the Lord, so it was done. If we remain as one heart in him, the fruit will multiply.”

Also present at the press conference was the General Secretary of Caritas Europa, Maria Nyman, who praised the work being carried out in Malta; as well as various collaborators from the Church and the state, benefactors, workers and volunteers of Caritas – through whom this project could become a reality.

Those who require assistance from Caritas Malta may call 2219 9000  or visit caritasmalta.org.

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