New centre opens doors

THE new Derwent Valley Community House was officially opened last week. The purpose-built centre, next to the ptunarra Child and Family Centre on Blair Street, is handsomely equipped, with a large reception area, kitchen, small and large meeting rooms, along with computer-equipped spaces.

One of 35 such facilities across the state, the Community House has two coordinators, Dianne Booth and Lexia Brown. Funding for the new building was provided by the State Government in its 2020/21 Budget, part of a $2 million allocation for multiple properties.

Derwent Valley Councillor Matt Hill, now chairman of the Community House, provided guests a short history of the project, on which he’s served in various advisory capacities. Importantly, Councillor Hill said, the new facility brings all services under one roof; previously, part was housed at Willow Court.

Its services are designed to promote social inclusion, provide community-led programs and help local people access important services. Those programs include a driver mentoring program called Drive Time, food and meals programs such as Meals on Wheels, literacy and Legal Aid support, and assistance with low-cost loans and employment.

The property will also furnish a venue for such groups as the Happy Hookers, a crocheting club, along with choir, garden and theatre groups. It is also a centre for those from the community looking to provide volunteering help.

The build was completed by Maverick Builders over seven months. Its gardens were finished by the staff from Derwent Valley Community Garden, which is part of the operations of the Community House.

A mature eucalypt on the property, which was removed for construction, will be milled, dried, and then come back to the Community House as a wooden deck.

The centre was opened by Community Services and Development Minister Nic Street.