Getting Ahead

Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World

Bidwill Uniting has now run the Getting Ahead program three times in Bidwill, and we are starting to see participants’ lives transformed.

Getting Ahead is an innovative program for people living in poverty to access resources they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Many people living in poverty are caught in a multi-generational cycle that can be difficult to escape.

Many Bidwill residents experience this generational poverty, which means that they miss out on opportunities that many of us take for granted. The cycle needs to be broken.

Poverty is not just financial in nature, it can also be emotional, educational, spiritual, physical, social, motivational, and cultural.

We all experience poverty to some degree in some of these areas at different times. However, people who have found themselves with very few resources across a whole range of areas need to be able to learn about and access these resources, few of which are material.


Getting Ahead is a 40 hour program that helps participants investigate and understand their own experience of poverty and the bigger picture systems that impact on them and contribute to poverty and disadvantage. This learning process enables people from disadvantaged communities to access the knowledge and resources that they need to successfully interact with other groups in society and move towards their goals, such as finding and maintaining employment.

Typically the 40 hour program is divided up into 16 sessions or 10 sessions, depending on the length of the sessions.

The Getting Ahead program aims for two levels of change:

  1. Participants moving from poverty to economic stability; and
  2. Learning and cultural change amongst the local community to encourage and assist others in moving out of poverty.

All participants set themselves goals and are supported by the group to achieve these goals. The participants meet together weekly over a meal and work together to address issues for themselves and the community.

As part of this program, we are seeking volunteers:

We are inviting people who are not experiencing poverty to participate in the course alongside local residents in order to:

  • Learn more about and engage deeply with Bidwill residents and the experience of poverty for different people;
  • Share knowledge, skills and resources with local residents participating in the program in an organic way during the course; and
  • Take their learning back to their families, churches, friends and workplaces in a way that helps the broader community to respond more effectively to people living in poverty.

Other ways for groups and/or congregations to help out:

  • We are looking for groups or congregations to provide meals or snacks for each session;
  • We are looking for volunteers to work alongside our children’s program workers to engage the children of the Getting Ahead participants during the sessions.