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 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. Since completing the room we regularly host meetings for One Community Together, Clarence Council, Grace Youth, Mission Australia Housing, Neighbourhood Watch, the Growers & Crafters Market and a bunch of other organisations and community members who needed a room to meet but couldn’t find one in our area that was available or 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 were on the way.

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 but were done way quicker than they would have been if we hadn’t made a start when we did. I think you’d agree they look fantastic. It’s amazing what you can achieve if you “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.”

2020 – Disabled Parking / Disabled Toilets & Foyer area

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!

Current Front Entrance of the Grace Centre

How’s that for a makeover!

2021 – Our Kitchen

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 by the start of 2022.

Grace Centre Kitchen