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A response to the community's changing needs

The history of Bernie's Place

The history of Bernie's Place

Bernie’s Place was purchased in 2013 by the Mt Gravatt Community Centre Inc.  It was named after Bernadette “Bernie” Dawson, a retired social worker who championed the Mt Gravatt region, securing the first community space in the area. Historically, Mt Gravatt Community Centre Inc. has provided services to seniors or to people with a disability through established government funded programs, as this group were identified at that time as most in need of services. In more recent times, significant numbers of migrants, including refugees, single parents, people who have had contact with the criminal justice system as well as children and young people have made contact with the Centre seeking support.

In early 2012, the board considered that the centre was in a sufficiently strong financial position to consider the purchase of a residential property which could be converted to a community asset.  Bernie’s Place is ideally situated next door to the Neighbourhood Centre. The house underwent a refurbishment to open the upstairs area for meeting rooms, adding disability access and facilities, a storage room and a new carpark area.   Bernie’s Place has provided an additional community meeting space for the past 5 years. 

The Bernie’s Place Project was a response to this changing and growing community need as it provides a welcoming, non-threatening and homely location for small groups to interact, learn new skills and receive support from qualified counsellors and practitioners. The current community centre continues to provide meeting spaces for existing stakeholders and groups more suited to the environment in that space, such as computer classes, religious groups, and out-of-hours groups. The fact that the centre has outgrown the demand placed upon it clearly demonstrates the tremendous growth in the area, and the centre’s ability to successfully identify and respond to changing community need.

Objectives of Phase 1 - Purchase & Restoration

  • Develop a strategic plan for the use of Bernie’s Place that identifies community need both current and future
  • Bernie’s Place will be wholly owned and operated by Mount Gravatt Community Centre Inc
  • Purchase the adjoining property at 1697 Logan Road
  • Seek approval for a Development Application for conversion to community service
  • Submit approved building plans to contractors for quotes
  • Seek new partnerships for programs that identify need
  • Employ existing partnership arrangements to establish programs and services that may be conducted at Bernie’s Place
  • Effect building refurbishments that will enhance programs and services
  • Over time, Bernie’s Place will become financially self sufficient
  • Establish a fund raising committee to oversee private, corporate and government funding applications
Objectives of Phase 2 - Refurbishment

Objectives of Phase 2 - Refurbishment

  • Raise Bernies Place and enclose underneath
  • Provide additional meeting space for new and emerging groups
  • Increase the number of external visiting services, promoting access & equity
  • A commercial kitchen producing meals for our food relief program
  • Safer access with new external stairs
  • Verandahs for break out spaces for groups
  • Community showers
  • A space to address social isolation and loneliness

Mt Gravatt Community Centre Inc. Would like to acknowledge to generous support of the following people and organisations that have helped the establishment of Bernie's Place.

  • Australian Government
  • Ian Lang
  • Foresters Community Finance
  • Southside Sport & Community Club
  • Gambling Community Benefit Fund
  • Sunnybank Community & Sports Club
  • Rotary Club of Mount Gravatt

Community Need

The average age of people living in the local area is 36 years with 18% of the population between 0-14 years as opposed to 13.8% of the population being 65 and older. 16% of the population are single parent families which is higher than the national average.

Demand for services for the Neighbourhood Centre Program rose by 25% 2011-2012. In 2011-2012 590 people contacted the centre for assistance with financial difficulties. 5% of these people were from culturally and linguistically diverse or Indigenous backgrounds.

In a recent survey members of the community identified that they would like assistance with child rearing, understanding family dynamics and communication, budgeting / financial management, health related topics – particularly mental health and gentle exercise, and support for depression and anxiety.

The ambiance of Bernie’s Place very effectively lends itself to small group activities such as these, providing a safe, non-threatening homely space.