Living Well Trust was the result of two organisations coming together.
The first was originally known as Ebenezer Trust. In 1995 a group of passionate individuals from within the Thames Baptist Church community came together. They were seeing increased pain in our community and the marginalised not being cared for. The trust was born out of a heart to enable and empower the Thames Baptist Church to support its community. Over the many years this support has taken many different shapes. Work experience, social work, counselling, housing, food bank, drop-in centre, community lunches and so much more. The nature of the trust has been one that has changed based on the gaps seen in the community. Over the years as larger social agencies with greater resources began to support the community and the people of Ebenezer Trust actively sought to look for the areas where people were missing out. The Thames Baptist Community and Ebenezer Trust have always had a stunning heart that genuinely loves people across all walks of life. For most locals it was simply better known as the Thames Baptist Community Ministries.
The second entity was established as Koinonia Trust in September 2011 by Michael Wilkes and his wife Jovana. It began when two couples came together and started to share their dreams; dreams of intentional community, of loving people through hospitality and of inspiring people through the natural created environment.
The dream was to establish a centre in the Waitakere Ranges that could offer retreats and outdoor programmes in the midst of Christian community and hospitality. It is funny however dreams are often simply the catalyst for something very different.
Needing to start somewhere Michael Wilkes developed a program called Res-Kids. The foundation for both our current Res-Kids and Thrive programs. In 2012, Res-Kids first year, 36 students went through the programme and it was amazing to hear the positive reports that came back about students improving in all aspects of life, academics, sports and even at home. Parents shared of the excitement of seeing their children grow in confidence over the eight week programme. At the end of that year Michael and his family felt led to move to Thames, unsure of what life would bring. Koinonia Trust sat in limbo as the family settled and found their place in the community.
At the start of 2016 however the Trust was reignited as Living Well Trust with a few local trustees joining the team and Michael being invited to run a drop in youth centre at The Lamp where the Christian book shop is now located. This was the catalyst that saw Res-Kids start again in Thames.
In 2019 Ebenezer Trust experienced significant change and once again in the heart of caring for their community the began to ask where the gaps were. This was the start of the conversation. And a decision that the timing was right for a change in direction. This resulted in Ebenezer Trust inviting Michael to bring his youth work and eventually the trust name to join the Thames Baptist Community Ministries. In 2020 Ebenezer Trust changed its name to Living Well Trust and even in the midst of serious challenges through Covid the work flourished.
Since 2020 Living Well Trust has grown to work with almost every school in Thames and Paeroa. And the focus and the dream has grown. Our heart is towards being intentional about seeing our local communities thriving and we want others to join us in that same heart, whether it is through supporting us or looking for other opportunities to help see our towns thriving.
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To work for justice, show mercy, and walk humbly with our God.
A supportive and compassionate community seeking to assist in creating better life outcomes for people experiencing significant life challenges.
We see every life as valuable. This is not a hollow statement but instead the very essence of Living Well Trust. Our initiatives are not Christian in content although the inspiration and the drive have been influenced and shaped by our worldview. The name Living Well Trust has a two fold meaning; one is that we will encourage and empower individuals and the communities we are involved with to ‘live well’, the second is the core of what drives us, a call to love and serve people which comes from Jesus “The Living Well” who says “I have come to give you life and life to the full”. We at Living Well want to see people thrive; living well and living life to the full. We are not here to preach, we are here to love, to serve and to do all we can to see our communities thriving. The initiatives we offer are all about the people. The story of Jesus has shaped our worldview and we do what we do because of Him.
Help Support Living Well Trust
If you would like to help through offering your time, resources or financially please let us know. A small contribution from many goes a long way.