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Docklands’ G.O.D. Squad

04 Feb 2016

Docklands’ G.O.D. Squad Image

By Ella Gibson

Don’t let the name fool you – this isn’t a religious group.

In this case, ‘GOD’ stands for Gentlemen Of Docklands, a group of men that originated from the need for a community at Yarra’s Edge.

“It’s very easy for facilities like this to become very isolated,” said Shaun Bassett, one of the co-founders of the group.  It was something he and Trevor Rowe, another co-founder, wanted to change.

The squad originated as a small Friday night drinks group. Purely through word of mouth it began to grow.

“Every time we saw someone walk past in the morning when we were having coffee we’d invite them, when we saw new faces we’d start a conversation,” Mr Bassett said.

“It all happened organically.  We didn’t have a preconceived idea as to what we wanted to achieve. It was literally just about community,” he said.

For the most part it’s a men-only affair, specifically retirees who have become isolated and at risk of severe loneliness.

“It’s focused around men. These guys lose their routine, and the loss of routine loses motivation – where’s the drive? That’s why G.O.D. Squad exists,” he said.

Now, every Friday night the group meets at The Common Man in South Wharf where they have a regular table. It still runs on word of mouth, so the group could be anything from three to 55 people on any given night.

Eventually the group decided to organise a Christmas lunch. They had 17 people turn up and it grew from that.

Now, the group’s Christmas lunches help to raise money for local non-for-profit group STREAT. Together with the organisation, the G.O.D. Squad sets the seat price to cover the food and alcohol costs, their profit margin and then a donation amount suitable for the event.  

In 2014, the squad managed to raise $5000 for STREAT. They decided they wanted to “step it up” the following year.

“We changed the structure, we changed the location, we still had STREAT do all of the food and the alcohol, we had a burlesque performer come in and do a non-reveal routine, we had an auction, and we had a gallery space with an exhibition,” Mr Bassett said.

The change paid off, and the squad managed to raise over $7000. Most of the auction items were things donated from inside the group. It was Mr Bassett’s proudest moment for the squad.

From the original group, smaller groups and events have formed including cycling, horse racing, car events, golf and movie nights.

“It started out as something very relaxed and easy, just two guys, that grew into this group,” Mr Basset said.  When asked if he could describe the group in a sentence, there’s no hesitation.

“Welcoming – I can describe it in a word. We have a very strong community here now,” he said.

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