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Lola's story

Group photo with Greg Barns, Cathy Humphrey and Father John

9 July 2019

Greg Barns and his three siblings recently made a generous donation to the Women's House in memory of their mother Lola, who passed away in March last year.

Lola Barns became a volunteer in the early 1980s.

When her four children became adults, she was looking for an opportunity to contribute to the cause of women’s rights in the welfare space in Melbourne.

When an opportunity to volunteer at the Dining Hall came up, Lola leapt at the chance to join an organisation she felt embodied her life-long commitment to the values of compassion, inclusion and equality.

Lola started volunteering at Grey Street, working closely with the Mission’s founding members to provide nutritious food and a sense of community to some of the most vulnerable people in the community.

Lola Barns, long-term volunteer at Sacred Heart Mission

Since then, Lola continued to support the Mission as it evolved into an innovative not-for-profit, providing individualised support and care services to people who are experiencing homelessness and disadvantage.

“Lola loved volunteering at the Mission and was a great supporter of its outreach programs, particularly those that helped women experiencing disadvantage,” Greg says.

“When the Women’s House opened, Lola started volunteering there, too, and even ended up working full time there for a while.

“She spent the next few decades alternating between volunteering at the Dining Hall, the Women’s House and aged care facility, right up until a few months before she passed away.”

Lola’s children made a donation of $70,000 to the Women’s House on their mother’s behalf earlier this year.

“As a family, this was the best way that we could think of honouring a woman who was so dedicated to the Mission, was very proud of the Mission and who had a great affinity for vulnerable people in the community, particularly women,” Greg says.

Lola plays an important part in the Mission's history, and now her legacy is part of our future.

She will remain forever in our hearts and her legacy ensures women in our community continue to receive the support they need to exit homelessness and get a second chance at living a fulfilling life.

Find out here, how you can support us and become part of the Mission.

Sacred Heart Mission acknowledges the traditional Aboriginal owners of country throughout Victoria and pays respects to them, their culture and their elders past, present and emerging.


Sacred Heart Mission believes that the diversity of abilities, genders, sexualities, relationship identities, bodies and cultures in our community enriches us all and should be celebrated. Everyone is welcome at our table.