PARTY TIME: Casino Neighbourhood Centre community co-ordinator Tommy Brogden and CEO Jackie Richards at the grand opening of the revamped facility.
PARTY TIME: Casino Neighbourhood Centre community co-ordinator Tommy Brogden and CEO Jackie Richards at the grand opening of the revamped facility. Jamie Brown

Neighbourhood centres on re-opening in Casino

THERE was singing and dancing on the streets during the official opening of the newly revamped Casino Neighbourhood Centre last week.

Members of the Healing Voices choir volunteered their singing talent on the footpath.

Nine years in the making

Centre CEO Jackie Richards said the opening celebration was more than welcome after nine years in the making but a number of critical services would now be housed under one roof, such as the Northern River Social Development Council, as well as parenting support groups, education programs and individualised tailored support activities that helped families feel they were part of a community.

Ms Richards said the modern push at state level was for community services to become self-funded to a degree.

But that was difficult to achieve in rural areas.

Difficult for country towns

"When governments change their model to a 'one size fits all', that can be difficult for country towns like Casino," she said.

"We believe we are doing our job effectively with small amounts of money and we are trying to respond to our greatest needs."

Community co-ordinator Tommy Brogden said the centre was working towards an entrepreneurial model by offering, for example, micro-loans to groups like the Aboriginal women's craft group - with the idea that over time they would become independent and self-funding.

"This is about building self-worth and pride," he said.

Volunteers gratefully accepted

Meanwhile volunteer co-ordinator Jackie Roberts said helpers were needed at the neighbourhood centre to work as drivers and also as facilitators with the community garden.

The gardens, located at the corner of Adam and Hartley Sts, South Casino, will be open tomorrow from 10.30am-noon.

For more information call Casino Neighbourhood Centre on 6662 2898.



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