Volunteers hard at work at the working bee on Friday, setting up Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre's new community space.
Volunteers hard at work at the working bee on Friday, setting up Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre's new community space.

REVEALED: New community hub for Coast

THE Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre is setting up a new community space promoting innovation, collaboration and cross-generational learning in the city.

The new venture will go ahead in the industrial building opposite Bunnings Warehouse on Boat Harbour Dr.

Neighbourhood Centre CEO, Tanya Stevenson said the project would be something completely new and valuable for the Fraser Coast.

"A little over four years ago Neighbourhood Centre treasurer Danny Mattsson and myself visited the Hackerspace (a community workshop) in Brisbane," she said.

"Since this time, our community has had many conversations about opening such a facility however it has been difficult to find the right space."

 

Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre CEO Tanya Stevenson and Treasurer Danny Mattson, Stockland Hervey Bay manager Paul Davis and Megan Abra, Rotary Hervey Bay's Ivan Mapp and Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre Vice President, Kirsti Kee. Photo: Contributed
Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre CEO Tanya Stevenson and Treasurer Danny Mattson, Stockland Hervey Bay manager Paul Davis and Megan Abra, Rotary Hervey Bay's Ivan Mapp and Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre Vice President, Kirsti Kee. Photo: Contributed

"We have since, been able to find a suitable space and sign a lease for the large industrial building next to the Reconnect Youth Centre, thanks to the generosity of building owner Bradnams," Ms Stevenson said.

The centre has hosted a working bee on November 20 to get the site ready for initial fit-out, but no official opening date has been set.

The site will become the Hervey Bay community's "hackerspace" where the centre would like to set up projects to promote skills development, employment opportunities, community empowerment and community engagement to tackle mental health issues.

The space is also intended to create links with other organisations to maximise connections and use the hub as a social space.

"We are currently establishing a community working group as well as continuing to gather community feedback on what our greatest needs are, to ensure the space is accessible and responsive for community members," Ms Stevenson said.

"We will be hosting a community forum on Thursday December 3, however, the feedback from the community so far has included the need for the centre to be child friendly, so Stockland has kindly donated its three-storey playground, which Rotary has already removed from the shopping centre and will install in our new facility."

The playspace will enable families with small children to get involved with activities and programs, knowing their children have a safe place to play.

"The Neighbourhood Hive will be our 'messy' community centre and we're thankful to Stockland management for making it more accessible to families in our communities," Ms Stevenson said

Paul Davis, Centre Manager at Stockland Hervey Bay, said it was an easy decision to donate the playground to the Neighbourhood Centre, who the centre team continues to engage on community initiatives.

"We've remained in active touch with the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre over the years and have seen first-hand the incredible work that they continue to do with disengaged youths and families in need of assistance.

"I knew how much the organisation would appreciate the playground and the benefits to the community, such as having a safe space for families to meet up and connect.

"We see ourselves as a town centre designed for the community, and are always considering new ways where we can support and engage our customers and local community.

"We hope that families and those connecting with the Neighbourhood Centre will enjoy the playground as much as our smallest customers here have over the past two years."

Stockland's partnership with the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre will continue throughout the Christmas season, as centre staff and volunteers run the gift-wrapping stall. They will also have The Wandering Teapot tea products on sale in a pop-up shop at the shopping centre, from 30 November.

Ms Stevenson said a name for the community hub was on the way.

"We are still looking for an official name for the building, The Neighbourhood Hive is currently a favourite, and potential project ideas," she said.

For more information, call the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre on 4194 3000.