10 February, 2023
Better centre on the way
A MULTI-million dollar building that will enable a community organisation to deliver even more social support services to locals is now under construction in Atherton.
Work has begun on the foundations of the new $4 million Better Together Atherton Community Centre, with construction expected to be completed in August, despite some minor delays to the project due to recent rain.
The new facility will include a larger community garden than the Mabel Street centre and will include a meeting space for community events.
Better Together’s community devel-opment co-ordinator Tracey Dickinson said the new centre would be the “glue” between existing services and provide a meeting point for the community as well as acting as a one-stop shop for community services.
“We hope the community can really get behind the new facility, claim it as their own and create more opportunities for community cooperation and that it might encourage people to volunteer and be part of our events and activities as we become more visible in the community,” she said.
“It is frustrating to see the rain falling and the building being delayed, but I must remind myself we are lucky as a lot of people are living rough in that rain and it’s impacting some of the most vulnerable people in the community.
“The community needs this centre as there are lots of people struggling at the moment and there are more that come to our door every week.
“This centre will provide a much-needed additional resource for those people.”
Ms Dickinson said the new expanded space was needed.
“I am really excited about the new centre and what it will mean for us and the community,” she said.
“We really need the new centre not only for Better Together as an organisation, as we are very short on space, but also the new building opens up so many options for volunteering and participation in the community.”
The project has been funded by the Queensland Government Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy, providing $1.9 million, and the Aus-tralian Government which provided $2.2 million for the centre.
Minister for Communities and Housing, Minister for Digital Economy and Minster for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said the State Government was proud to partner with the Australian Government and Better Together Community Support to build the new centre.
“We’ve worked hard to support Better Together in gaining a funding grant from the Australian Government for the construction of this new premises for the centre,” she said.
“The Atherton Community Centre is a cornerstone of the local community, delivering services and supports for some of the most vulnerable people in the community.”
The government also provided $250,000 in 2019 to enable the community organisation to undertake full documented design, obtain all necessary planning approvals and secure land tenure.
Better Together also received a $103,499 funding uplift in last year’s state Budget.
The building of the new community centre has been in the planning stages for some time, and over the next few weeks, the concrete slabs will be poured.
“Just as the foundation is important on a building, volunteers are the foundations of our organisation” Ms Dickinson said.
“Better Together are always looking for volunteers to help, especially as their ser-vices are becoming more critical during the cost-of-living crisis.
“Not only will it provide more room for more volunteers, it also will provide an open and safe space for Tablelanders to gain the support they need.
“If you would like to get involved and help Better Together provide essential com-munity support call 4091 3850.”