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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

GALLERY: The Place celebration 10 years in the making

The Place: Charlestown Community Centre recently marked an important milestone in its history – a decade of compassion and goodwill towards Lake Macquarie residents.

Staff, board members, volunteers, tenants, hirers, local dignitaries, community members and friends of the not-for-profit facility gathered last month for an afternoon tea to celebrate the organisation’s 10th anniversary.

Charlestown MP Jodie Harrison, Lake Macquarie City mayor Kay Fraser and others who have played a significant role in the centre’s growth reflected on many achievements and highlights over the past 10 years.

The Place actively supports community development, which is enabled through the mechanism of a financially sustainable social enterprise, according to manager Cristelle Govender.

“We’re extremely proud that we’ve established ourselves as a central part of the Charlestown community,” she said.

“During that time, the centre’s hosted 14,462 events and 360,802 participations, which equates to positively impacting the lives of 100 people every single day.

“So, the past decade’s been amazing.”

Over the years, The Place has provided a range of programs and services for people of all ages and backgrounds as well, including initiatives for health and wellbeing, improving digital skills, social unions and offering information and referral support for the community.

The centre’s hired out its space to numerous groups, too, to deliver various activities and events.

Also acknowledged were two people: Kathleen Pennington who runs Massage Space and is The Place’s longest standing tenant, reaching 10 years in April; and administration coordinator Karden Salomons, who recognised her 10-year work anniversary in November, having joined team even before the official opening.

And, the future looks even brighter, with two new programs announced for 2021.

The first is a Kindness Cupboard, thanks to an alliance with the Sydney-based Project Kindness, while the second is Well I Am, which was made possible through a partnership with Laura Collison from Well Education and Charlestown Square, that will focus on developing positive self-worth in young women aged 10 to 16.

“We’re excited as an organisation to get more involved in supporting our community to thrive through greater collaboration, leveraging our resources and networks and, importantly, through delivering proactive and responsive programs,” Ms Govender said.