After a combined 100 years of community service, the Katoomba, Mid Mountains and Lower Mountains Neighbourhood Centres will join together under a new umbrella organisation called, Belong Blue Mountains Community and Neighbourhood Services.
Joining forces: From left, Belong Blue Mountains CEO and Katoomba Neighbourhood Centre manager Kath Harrison, Lower Mountains Neighbourhood Centre manager Peta Williams and Mid Mountains Neighbourhood Centre manager Mick Barrett.
Initiated by the managers and boards of the three centres, Belong Blue Mountains has taken 18 months of planning and consulting.
Belong Blue Mountains CEO Kath Harrison said it was an exciting new beginning for neighbourhood services in the Blue Mountains.
“Each of our neighbourhood centres strives to create a sense of belonging in the community. To be heard, to be connected, to be supported, is to belong. The new organisational name ‘Belong’ was selected as it reflects the heart of who we are and why our services exist,” she said.
“Research shows that a strong sense of connectedness and belonging to local community are of critical importance for wellbeing and quality of life, as well as building social cohesion and resilience. The new structure will give us an even greater opportunity to make a real and lasting difference in our communities.”
The three separate neighbourhood centres, Lower Mountains Neighbourhood Centre, Mid Mountains Neighbourhood Centre and Katoomba Neighbourhood Centre, were formed throughout the late 1970s to late 1980s and have always played a vital role in providing essential services to the community.
The centres are hubs of community support and activity. Together they employ some 50 staff and manage an army of over 200 regular volunteers. Their services include programs for children, young people, families and neighbourhoods (such as community information and referral services, social, health and wellbeing groups, exercise classes, playgroups, out of school hours service, community festivals and many other community projects), aged care services (including transport services, social groups, domestic assistance and volunteer home visitors), No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS), palliative support services and disability services.
Belong Blue Mountains Community and Neighbourhood Services will be officially launched by Blue Mountains MP Trish Doyle on Thursday, November 8 at the Mid Mountains Neighbourhood Centre. Susan Templeman, Federal Member for Macquarie, will also take part in the official proceedings.