Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, the multicultural and wider community celebrated the opening of the new IJC Community Hub on Anderson Street at Manunda on Monday.
The Community Hub is a one-stop shop for service providers and community to work together in one community-run space.
“Having the Hub there means any member of the community feeling the pressures of financial hardship, of being away from home or even being homeless, can access one place to find the support they need,” CEO Chris Martin said.
“We offer space and facilities to community service providers under one roof in the hope that Hub users will be able to find pathways to the solutions to their problems through the various service providers we have partnered to date and will expand upon in the future.
“We believe one of the most important aspects of the Hub environment is that it’s community-run and friendly, as well as being on neutral ground, which makes it welcoming and easy for our community clients.
“For our service providers there is the opportunity to save them a lot of time in getting what they need as well as the opportunity to work together.”
IJC Chair Maria Richards said she and her board were ready to “go into bat” for disadvantaged people from Cairns to the Torres Strait and beyond.
“We know for ourselves what a tough gig it is to be forced into the mainstream,” she said.”If you have literacy problems, mental health problems and even financial difficulties it can be more stressful than many of us may be able to imagine.
“It’s a big learning curve – it certainly was for us – and that’s how we know the people we want to help need all the help they can get.
“Dealing with all sorts of agencies and paperwork and phone calls and the endless stream of pressures they face on a day to day basis can be difficult enough.
“But this is where the Hub truly comes into it’s own – a one-stop shop for service providers and community to work together in one community-run space.
“We are so proud of what we have to offer and we love what we do.”
Royal Flying Doctor Service Mental Health Services Manager Tim Shaw said their clinicians would be an integral part of the support available from the Hub.
“We are delighted to partner IJC on this exciting initiative,” he said. “RFDS are already providing high quality social emotional wellbeing services to many Cape communities, so it’s great to be contributing to this project.
“Being away from community can bring stresses and challenges, so having access to highly skilled and experienced counsellors can make a real difference.”
Playgroup Queensland Field Support Officer for their Accessible Playgroup Initiative Paula Castle, who will work from the Hub, said they also appreciated the opportunity to be involved.
“Accessible Playgroup Initiative listens to what the community wants and works with them to create a playgroup that meets their needs,” she said.
“As a support officer for the Accessible Playgroup Initiative, I am always available to support the group and facilitator throughout their journey.
“We appreciate this opportunity with working with IJC and are looking forward to launching the Accessible Playgroup Initiative and watching it grow well into the future.”
Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch said he found it saddening to see the alienation that people can experience when they are away from community, for whatever reason.
“That’s why I’m very impressed with the model I’m seeing here today,” he said.
“The Hub is focused on being a welcoming space where people can build their confidence, upskill and access a whole range of support services.
“I congratulate the Hub for the partnerships you’ve formed and the outcomes you’re working towards.”
PCYC’s Project Booyah Cairns Coordinator Snr Constable Kelly Chamberlain said they were also pleased to be a partner in the Hub.
“Project Booyah is a program developed and coordinated by the Queensland Police service for at risk youth in our community,” she said. “We have been fortunate to partner with IJC.
“The use of the hub will help to build stronger relationships between community members and provide a safe and trusting environment for the Project Booyah participants to engage in whilst also providing valuable community connections.”