Our story so far . . .
In November of 2015 Grace Church purchased the Village Green Tavern (11 Ralphs Terrace Rokeby) and started the daunting task of turning the dilapidated old building into something that the Clarence Plains community could be proud of. Situated on nearly 5 acres of land in the middle of our community the property was ideally positioned 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. Drag the arrows to see the before and after pictures.
2018 – The Office Area
Early 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 didn’t need our larger back room. So we stripped the floor coverings off the floor and then bought some timber and started framing up. The plaster sheets were donated and we managed to raise a bit of money so we continued on. Then out of the blue someone donated $25,000 and we raised some more money. Our painter painted the whole office area for free and the carpet was donated. All up we managed to raise close to $75,000 and the offices were finished by November. They took a bit longer than we thought they would but were done way quicker than they would have been if we hadn’t made a start when we did.
2019 – Paint Job and a Sign
In 2019 we were enjoying our newly renovated offices but the outside of the building was sorely needing some TLC. It was giving off the vibe of a derelict, abandoned building so we decided a new coat of paint would help to bring the outside more inline with the inside. Mike and Sally put on the undercoat and even that was a huge improvement on the old colour. Then the boys from Performance Painting turned up and completed the transformation. Our tired old pub suddenly didn’t look abandoned anymore! With a nice shiny new exterior we thought it was about time we put up some signage at long last :)
2020 – Our Entrance
The next project we tackled were the toilets and foyer/entrance into the building along with disabled parking at the front door. Previously the toilets lacked suitable disabled facilities and were very dated and the entrance into the building was hard to find. With a little bit of creative building works we’ve ended up with a lovely accessible entrance and foyer along with compliant toilets and disabled car parking. We now have a facility that is accessible to everyone in our community and we’re thrilled with the final result.
A huge thanks to the Tasmanian Community Fund along with donations from Grace Church which have made this project possible!
2022/2023 – Our Kitchen
As many of our community would know, the old Village Green Tavern had a kitchen which provided meals for patrons for many years. Along with the rest of the building it had fallen into disrepair and was well and truly past its use by date. It needed a complete rebuild if it was ever to be operational again. Back in 2017 we started discussions with Loaves and Fishes, a statewide organisation that provides emergency food relief for vulnerable families and those who have fallen on hard times, about the possibility of turning our kitchen into a food preparation centre and a place that could offer traineeships for those wanting to pursue a future in the food industry. So we made a start and early 2023 the Kitchen began operation.