NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall says a $400,000 upgrade and extension to the Hub at Guyra will allow it to expand its neighbourhood services to more people and increase its reach to people in need of critical support and advocacy.

Mr Marshall has announced the State Government funding today for the works project at the Neighbourhood Centre in Bradley Street, known as The Hub@Guyra, which will effectively triple its operational space.

He said the centre would effectively be able to add a 330 square metre addition along the building’s rear and side creating a range of new spaces and amenities for the Guyra community.

“The old building sits in the community precinct in Guyra, between the library and the Home Support Services centre, but it lacks some essential modern conveniences and this funding will address that issue,” Mr Marshall said.

“The old skillion roof at the back will be removed for the extension building and that will provide a large exercise space, board room, computer room, offices, kitchen and bathrooms, waiting areas and more storage space.

“And it will allow an easy link and wheelchair access right through to the Guyra Community Garden, which is hugely popular too.

“The Hub does a great job and provides an incredible service for its community where there is often nowhere else for them to go.

“The neighbourhood centre is a safe, neutral space for them to go to get help or advice about accessing other programs to help them. They are linking vulnerable and disadvantaged people to the services that will support them.”

“This funding is effectively future proofing this organisation for its community.”

Centre co-ordinator Chris Hietbrink said the project would see the space triple in size, for community use but also provide some essential amenities like a dedicated kitchen.

“The space will include three offices with space for service providers who are here weekly, fortnightly and monthly, a boardroom, and a new office for our own services which will house our IT and reception systems,” Mrs Hietbrink said.

“But there will also be a new disabilities toilet and shower and men’s and women’s bathrooms, and a kitchen.

“The present building has those old concrete laundry tubs; we don’t have a kitchen in this building at all, we don’t have facilities of other centres like commercial style where you could teach lifeskills programs, like cooking for youth and hospitality courses.”

Mrs Hietbrink said most people didn’t understand what Neighbourhood Centres do in their communities.

“It’s a community hub and it’s one of the most successful programs and provides a meeting place and a facility for so many groups and services and community programs,” she said.

“This includes a range from psychology, disabilities recruitment, parental, TAFE, Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, legal services, and youth and family support.

“Anyone can come and use our space and some use it more regularly than others.”

Funded by the NSW Government, the grant funds will allow the new expansion to help more people and provide a place for more community services to operate out of, Mrs Hietbrink said.

“And it will also provide for storage for groups who regularly use the centre. Our work is as an information and referral centre but we do masses of advocacy, and while we’re not funded to do that we have negotiated things for many people who don’t have that capacity or people to help them. That’s the sort of work we do, lots for people in crisis.”

Mrs Hietbrink said it was hoped the renovation and extension work would get underway soon, after a tender process for the works.

She said the next target for The Hub was to source equipment and furnishings to fit-out the new spaces. The heritage building is council owned and originally was the old school, built over 100 years ago, and then used as the school master’s residence.

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