A Year in Review – 2019

2019 was a wild ride. It was a year that saw our inception and rapid progress into a thriving community space. We celebrated our successes and learned from our shortcomings. Here’s a snapshot of our journey.

 

 

‘Power to the People’ Conference

On the 15th and 16th of August, we attended the ‘Power to the People Conference’ at The Hellenic Club of Canberra. Accompanied by Youth Councilors Ebony Layley and Thomas Starkey, we set out on an exciting road trip to Canberra. The ‘Power to the People Conference’ is an annual event delivered by ‘The Bank of Ideas’ to bring together passionate, community-minded people and inspire them to build capacity in their communities. We were able to implement some amazing learnings from the conference in our own community setting. Ebony did us all very proud by delivering a pitch to conference participants for a series of community workshops, promoting positive mental health for Young People. She was awarded $2,000 in funding to implement this initiative in the Mitchell Shire.

 

 

We were later visited by Peter Kenyon, the organiser of the conference (and a highly influential figure in the community development space). He was very impressed with the amazing space that the Wallan community created here!

 

 

 Project Ready 2019 Cohort

Our launch event was fast approaching and none of our furniture had arrived. We were about to launch an empty building when the furniture all showed up at the last minute… all in flat packs. Then, on the day of our launch event, an army of the ‘Project Ready’ Wallan Secondary students showed up to literally save the day. They not only assembled all of our furniture, but they collected balloons, helped us paint, shared their ideas and helped set up the event.  

Atr the end of the year, we were so proud to witness their graduation. Project Ready is an awesome initiative that connects VCAL students to community organisations to give young people the opportunity to have some real-world work experience. To find out more about Project Ready, contact Central Ranges Local Learning and Employment Network http://www.centralrangesllen.org.au/

 

Off with a bang! Our launch event

What an incredible day it was to celebrate us opening our doors! We were all amazed by the Indigenous smoking ceremony and local performers. Thank you to all who attended- it was awesome to see all of the cars lined up (practically) halfway to Beveridge!

 

Men’s Shed

It was such a privilege to meet the gentlemen at the Men’s Shed, who restored and donated over 20 bikes for Love in Action!

 

 

 

Domestic Violence Q& A Event

Police came to answer our questions as a community about domestic violence. It was great to have access to such helpful advice on an issue that has touched all of us in the community.

 

 

Come together Wallan

Sharon, a Wallan local, has recently run a successful meetup to begin organizing ‘come together Wallan’ a multicultural event that will be held in Summer. The event will be focused on bringing together people from a range of diverse backgrounds to share incredible food and stories. 

 

Wallan Book Club

The Wallan book club meets here once a month. Join the Wallan Book Club on Facebook for future updates!

 

 

YuGiOh Hangout

A student from Wallan Secondary College organised a YuGiOh hangout on Tuesdays. For those of you who may not have heard of YuGiOh, it is a card trading, collecting and dueling game which is popular among teenagers and older kids. We’ve had an awesome response to this and a number of Facebook messages saying how happy people are that there is finally something like this in their area. 

 

 

 

Community Garden

We’re excited to look out of our window to see plants popping up in the community garden outside!

The garden has been established by Krystal, who has just completed her Certificate in Community Services in tandem with a number of incredible community members who have volunteered to help with this. Danielle, who owns a business producing sustainable and upcycled garden art, has also run a number of workshops, teaching us how to make gorgeous gifts from succulents!

If you are interested in getting involved, join us next year from the 6th of January. The community garden group generally meets weekly on a Monday at 10am.

 

OKR FM Broadcasting

OKR FM, your favourite local community radio station, is now broadcasting here every Third Friday of the Month! They have been such a fun, lively presence and we’re looking forward to their 2020 broadcasts!

 

A few more highlights were:

  • The Youth Candidates forum early this year, which gave our young people the opportunity to ask representatives from each major political party their toughest questions
  • The Mental Health First Aid Course, run by Roslyn Stewart, a local volunteer from the Mitchell Suicide Prevention Network.

Seeing Love in Action move into this space was wonderful! The team were previously storing their goods across over 6 houses. Love in Action now has a (relatively) spacious home base to do their incredible work

  • Going to Wallan Secondary College for a game of Dodgeball (psst.. we sucked at it!)
  • Attending the ‘Finding Their Feet’ night at Wallan Secondary College to give young people information about career pathways and opportunities.

 

Our Advocates

Nikki Simos

Nikki Simos has been our biggest supporter and advocate, spreading the word about our mission and vision throughout the community. She regularly stops by to help in any way she can, whether that be organising an event or assembling flat-pack furniture!

 

Danielle Green, MP

 

Dannielle has done a significant amount of advocacy on our behalf and been a huge supporter of the work that we do here. She even came down here, in rain,  picking up a paintbrush and helping us make the Hub blue!

 

Our Volunteers

Paul Dwyer

Paul approached us one day, offering to help us source a cheap kitchen and install it for free! Paul came in for weeks on end (after he had already worked a full day), chipping away at the kitche installation. We were blown away by his generosity and community spirit.

 

Our Donors

 

Grant, from Drake Air Conditioning, generously donated us a split system (and believe me, these are not cheap!) Overnight, we went from shivering in a carpetless old police station to being able to work comfortably in this space!

 Sharon has regularly stopped by the Hub, having sourced all kind of goods to make this space functional. Items Sharon has donated baby equipment, a (new!) microwave, materials for the community garden and much more. We are so grateful to Sharon for supporting us!

And last of all, your Hub Facilitator, Celina Grech.

There is no one that is more committed to the success of the Hub than Celina. In the entire time that I have worked here, she has never left the office at 5pm. Celina is extremely passionate about empowering our local young people (such as me!) to do incredible things. She has nurtured this project from its conception, creating the amazing space that you see here today.

 

We’d also like to give a huge shoutout to all of those below, who have done the back-breaking work to restore this place into a cosy community space: