Aim of the “Bernie’s Place” Project

The aim of the “Bernie’s Place” Project is to establish additional community space adjacent to the existing community centre in order to expand the range of services and programs offered to meet identified community needs.

Objectives for Bernie’s Place programs and services

  • Develop a strategic plan for the use of Bernie’s Place that identifies community need both current and future. Download the plan here.
  • Bernie’s Place will be wholly owned and operated by Mount Gravatt Community Centre Inc
  • Employ existing partnership arrangements to establish programs and services that may be conducted at Bernie’s Place.
  • Seek new partnerships for programs that identify need.
  • Effect building refurbishments that will enhance programs and services
  • Over time, Bernie’s Place will become financially self sufficient

Specific Objectives for Bernie’s Place

  • Purchase the adjoining property at 1697 Logan Road.
  • Seek approval for a Development Application for conversion to community se.u
  • Develop and submit Building Applications for the two stages identified in the DA.
  • Submit approved building plans to contractors for quotes.
  • Establish a fund raising committee to oversee private, corporate and government funding applications

Mt Gravatt Community Centre Inc. Would like to acknowledge to generous support of the following people and organisations that have helped the establishment of Bernie's Place.

* Ian Lang

* Foresters Community Finance

* Southside Sport & Community Club

* Gambling Community Benefit Fund

* Sunnybank Community & Sports Club

* Rotary Club of Mount Gravatt

Rationale

It is well-recognised that the role of a community centre is unique in providing the opportunities for people to come together to support each other in their local community and assist in building people’s own natural helping networks. Locally-based centres provide significant benefits to community cohesion and social capital which can be further leveraged in response to a range of other local issues and opportunities for the futures.

For over twenty years, Mt Gravatt Community Centre Inc. has been providing programs and services to the local community. These programs and services include:

Home Assist Secure

Community Development

Social Support Programs

Storm Safe Programs

Information and Referrals

Home and Community Care

Emergency Relief

In Home Support

Tax Help

In the last few years, it has become increasingly evident that the demographics of the Mount Gravatt area and surrounding suburbs have undergone a considerable change. Historically, Mt Gravatt Community Centre Inc. has provided services to seniors or to people with a disability through established government funded programs as this group were identified at that time, as most in need of services. In more recent times, significant numbers of migrants, including refugees, single parents, people who have had contact with the criminal justice system as well as children and young people have made contact with the Centre seeking support.

In early 2012, the board considered that the centre was in a sufficiently strong financial position to consider the purchase of a residential property which could be converted to a community asset. The most desirable location was the adjoining property at 1697 Logan Road. This location was chosen as its adjacency would minimise the need for additional managerial staff, would promote unrestricted access between the two locations of both staff and clients, and being high set, offered considerable scope for development.

The acquisition of the property would provide a significant capital asset to the centre. Negotiations with the owners began in March 2012 and culminated in the acquisition of the property in February 2013.

The Bernie’s Place Project was a response to this changing and growing community need as it provides a welcoming, non-threatening and homely location for small groups to interact, learn new skills and receive support from qualified counsellors and practitioners. The current community centre continues to provide meeting spaces for existing stakeholders and groups more suited to the environment in that space, such as computer classes, religious groups, and out-of-hours groups.

The fact that the centre has outgrown the demand placed upon it clearly demonstrates the tremendous growth in the area, and the centre’s ability to successfully identify and respond to changing community need.

The name “Bernie’s Place” was chosen to pay tribute to the long and significant contribution made to the centre by Bernadette (Bernie) Dawson. Bernie was the original driving force behind the establishment of the then Mount Gravatt Neighbourhood Centre, and was the inaugural manager of the centre when it was established over twenty years ago. Bernie is one of two life members of the Mt Gravatt Community Centre Inc.

Community Need

The average age of people living in the local area is 36 years with 18% of the population between 0-14 years as opposed to 13.8% of the population being 65 and older. 16% of the population are single parent families which is higher than the national average.

Demand for services for the Neighbourhood Centre Program rose by 25% 2011-2012. In 2011-2012 590 people contacted the centre for assistance with financial difficulties 5% of these people were from culturally and linguistically diverse or Indigenous backgrounds.

In a recent survey members of the community identified that they would like assistance with child rearing, understanding family dynamics and communication, budgeting / financial management, health related topics – particularly mental health and gentle exercise, and support for depression and anxiety.

The ambiance of Bernie’s Place very effectively lends itself to small group activities such as these, providing a safe, non-threatening homely space.