The Hub at Guyra may get a much-needed makeover.
Centre Coordinator Chris Hietbrink recently applied for a $600,000 state government grant to renovate the ageing neighbourhood centre.
“This will be a true community space,” Mrs Hietbrink said; “truly a space where community members are able to meet in a safe neutral space that’s pleasant and can support them, and that’s fit for purpose, and which will futureproof our community.”
The Hub at Guyra, housed in the original school on Bradley St, is the go-to place for anyone in town seeking help. It provides information and referrals to counselling, support services, and job providers. It’s somewhere community groups and agencies can meet; a recreational space for youth; and a safe, neutral ground for families and Aboriginal people.
There’s just one snag: the building is too small.
Service providers have to juggle rooms; youths and AA members are crammed into a back room; and the playgroup can’t fit in at all.
Enter the Stronger Country Communities Fund, a $200 million government program to improve the quality of life in regional NSW by funding community projects such as parks, halls, playgrounds, and amenity blocks.
Mrs Hietbrink realised this was a terrific opportunity to renovate and extend the Hub at Guyra so that it would meet the town’s needs.
Youths will be able to meet in a large main room out the back, and the playgroup in a special kids’ room. A moveable wall will turn the space into a yoga or exercise classroom.
Silver surfers will use a computer room for online learning, while their grandchildren master the theory of driving. Community groups can hold meetings in a boardroom. Probation and parole officers, disability job providers, and legal advisers will all have their own offices, and psychologists and family support services a permanent space.
Having all these different services in one location will make it easier for the Hub at Guyra to help its customers.
“If people walk in a door and don’t have to walk back out to go somewhere else,” Mrs Hietbrink said, “they get faster and more successful support.”
Whereas if they’re advised to go to another location, very often they’ll deviate, because they don’t have the confidence to progress by themselves.
“It takes a lot of courage to walk in and ask for help. We as service providers don’t want those people to be left behind. And about the only way we can do it is to make sure we’re all together.”
The Hub will also have a proper kitchen, a disabled toilet and shower, and an access ramp.
This is one of 12 projects, totalling $8.6 million, that Armidale Regional Council has applied for under the scheme.
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall is a strong advocate for the project.
”Getting that new building here is important,” Mr Marshall said. “It’s important for the community and a whole range of services that are here now to support the community, but also others that would potentially come here and be based out at this centre. It is a community space, and the plans they’ve got here are quite exciting, and very deserving of support.”
The Hub at Guyra is open from Tuesday to Friday, 10am – 2 pm. Phone 6779 1635.