Zac’s: a place for all

WELCOMING: Ros and Glen Stuart welcome all to the rejuvenated St Clement’s tennis clubhouse, now known as Zac’s Place.
WELCOMING: Ros and Glen Stuart welcome all to the rejuvenated St Clement’s tennis clubhouse, now known as Zac’s Place.

The St Clement’s community hall/tennis clubhouse has been transformed.

What used to be a forgotten old building sitting behind the Anglican Church and next to disused tennis courts (currently being turned into a community garden) is now Zac’s Place, an establishment for those in need.

“We just want to connect with the community and build relationships,” Zac’s Place president Glen Stuart told the Tribune.

“We also want Zac’s Place to be somewhere people can come to meet people and escape loneliness.”

Glen and his wife Ros are “unashamedly Christian in ethos” but insist this is definitely not an exclusive church group.

“We are definitely non-denominational,” he said.

“We are here so that if people need an ear, Zac’s Place can provide it, no matter who you are or what you believe in.”

Zac’s Place began in the UK. Following a visit, Glen and Ros decided to set up their own ‘place’ after seeing the good work that can be done.

“While it is a UK concept, we have tailored it so it suits the needs of Yass. We like to think that we didn’t choose Yass, Yass chose us,” Ros said.

A year and a bit later and Zac’s Place is now a busy hub. Every Tuesday there is a drop-in get together and Bible study and on the first Tuesday of every month there is a community meal put on by Glen, Ros and some of their hard-working volunteers.

“The big dinners are always popular.

“We usually have around 30 people show up which is great and we also try to get the young kids involved with cooking and food preparation which is an important skill to have,” Glen explained.

Every Saturday Zac’s Place turns into a simple drop-in centre. From 10am to 3pm anyone who “wants an ear” or just some time-out is welcome.

More recently Zac’s Place has held days for young locals which are run by Emma Woods. High school kids are invited to do graffiti art, play music, and just relax.

One of Zac’s Place’s most successful events so far was the Graffiti and Beat Box weekend that was held recently. The two activities are not always welcomed with open arms by society and Glen and Ros saw this as an opportunity to open their doors even further.

“It was just another strategy we have used to connect us to the community. “Graffiti in particular is frowned upon so we thought we could give young kids a place to do it responsibly and under supervision.”

Zac’s Place has also been running first-aid courses and special food-handling courses.

While the inside of the building has changed drastically, work on the outside is still yet to get started.

“We have applied for a few grants from the government but so far no success.

“It doesn’t matter, we will keep plugging away,” Ros said.

Those wishing to get involved with Zac’s Place are encouraged to simply turn up on any of the days mentioned above.