Multi-million-dollar funding boost for neighbourhood and community centres

Queensland Government media release

Queensland’s 127 state-government funded neighbourhood and community centres will share a one-off $2.54 million funding boost to help with increased demand for services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the Maryborough Neighbourhood Centre, Minister for Communities and Housing Leeanne Enoch said the state’s network of neighbourhood and community centres has been on the frontline supporting Queenslanders through the pandemic.

“Our neighbourhood and community centres have been working incredibly hard to safely continue delivering services and supports to their local communities,” Ms Enoch said.

“But they’ve also had to overcome some challenges and adjust their service delivery to respond to the individual needs and priorities of their local communities as a result of COVID-19 and the current disaster events in the state.

“For example, the Maryborough Neighbourhood Centre has hosted the Community Recovery hub for flood-affected residents, while also providing other supports and services for people impacted by COVID-19.

“Neighbourhood and community centres have also faced increased costs in measures to keep their staff, volunteers and visitors safe, while experiencing reduced income from hire of rooms and other venues due to the pandemic.

“In recognition of their extraordinary efforts, and the increased costs incurred as a result of the pandemic, we are providing a one-off funding boost of $20,000 to each of the 127 centres operating across Queensland.”

Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders said the boost would be welcomed by staff and community members to the Maryborough Neighbourhood Centre.

“This $20,000 will go a long way towards helping the Maryborough Neighbourhood Centre to continue delivering services and responding to increasing demands for support and changing clientele needs, such as requests for emergency relief and assisting clients to book vaccinations and upload certificates to the Check-In Qld App.

“This funding will also assist the centre with cleaning costs and undertaking outreach opportunities to vulnerable and marginalised groups.”

Maryborough Neighbourhood Centre manager Gay Cayabyab said the centre has been receiving funding from the Queensland Government for more than 32 years to support the delivery of much needed services to the community.

“It is vital funding to support the many programs that are important to our community,” she said.

“It is the ‘heart’ of what we do and allows us to respond to our community when they are in need.”

CEO of Neighbourhood Centres Queensland Em James welcomed the funding boost and said any investment in neighbourhood centres was a direct investment in Queensland communities.

“Throughout the pandemic, neighbourhood and community centres have continued to go above and beyond for local communities, bringing their trademark adaptability to respond to the emerging challenges in their communities,” she said.

“From physically distanced playgroups to volunteers creating cook-along meal kits for fellow community members, neighbourhood centres found innovative ways to foster belonging and connection and provide practical support and advice.

“During lockdowns neighbourhood centres increased their essential services to local communities.

“These grants will help neighbourhood centres continue to support community members on the frontline, dealing with issues of domestic and family violence, social isolation, homelessness, financial hardship and food security”.

Ms Enoch said the funding was just one example of how the Queensland Government is supporting neighbourhood and community centres, and other non-government organisations, during these tumultuous times.

“Since January 2021, we have purchased and gifted more than 400,000 face masks and 21,500 bottles of hand sanitiser to non-government organisations across the state, including Queensland Meals on Wheels, neighbourhood and community centres, and other community service providers,” she said.

“These masks were purchased from local suppliers – the majority made by a local manufacturer in Logan.

“A further estimated 103,000 face masks will be distributed to these non-government organisations over the next few months.

“The Queensland Government is committed to ensuring that our neighbourhood and community centres, and other funded non-government service providers, are well-equipped to continue safely delivering services and supports to Queenslanders in need.”