Our story so far . . .
In November of 2015 Grace Church Rokeby purchased the Village Green Tavern (11 Ralphs Terrace Rokeby). Situated on nearly 5 acres of land in the middle of our community the property is ideally situated for development into a Community Centre and a hub for community gatherings as well as an administration base for local community groups throughout the week.
As with any old building, especially a pub, there were all sorts of issues that had to be addressed before the building could be used and in 2016 we began the task of removing 40 years of accumulated junk and redundant furnishings, bars, fireplaces, walls, etc that needed to go.
2017 Our first major project . . .
In 2017 we decided to see how far we could get with renovating the back room at the Centre. We’d already hosted various community functions in the old room and our youth program met there every Friday night but the facility was smelly, dirty and quite rundown. We didn’t have much money but felt it would be a great object lesson and an opportunity to practically outwork our mantra, “Start where you are – Use what You have – Do what you can.”
So we began . . . and 3 months later in July 2017 we were ready to host the Stronger Communities Together workshop in a brand spanking new function room! It’s amazing what you can achieve if you’ll just make a start. Since completing the room we’ve hosted meetings for Clarence Council, One Community Together, Mission Australia Housing and a bunch of smaller organisations and community members who needed a room to meet but couldn’t find one in our area that was available or one the right size. We’re thrilled that we’re able to help support the great work being done by so many groups in Clarence Plains through the provision of a spacious, clean and modern room for meetings. Early days yet, but we’re on the way.
2018 – The Office and Training area
In 2018 we decided to tackle the front area of the Centre which used to be the old public bar. Our aim was to create Community office space as well as a training room that could be used for smaller sized groups that don’t need the larger back room. I think you’d agree that we managed to pull it off. Check out our before and after picture below. Its amazing what you can achieve if you “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.”
2019 – 2020
At the Grace Centre is a very tired run down commercial kitchen that has well and truly passed its use by date. It’s our hope that we can resurrect the kitchen and see it fully operational providing nutritious cooked meals for those who are struggling in our community and training opportunities for our young people who want to gain experience in food preparation and hospitality. We are partnering with Loaves and Fishes to see this come to pass and have wonderful support right across our community. Currently we are in the process of seeking funding to see the refurbishment take place and would love to see the kitchen fully operational some time in 2020.
Disabled Parking / Disabled Toilets / Foyer area
One of our next projects will be the toilets and foyer/entrance into the building along with disabled parking. Currently the toilets lack suitable disabled access and are very dated and the entrance into the building is hard to find. With a little bit of creative building works we’ll end up with a lovely accessible entrance and foyer and once the toilets are upgraded and car parking complete we’ll have a facility that will be accessible to everyone in our community.