So WHY did the Heyfield community put so much effort into grantseeking and getting their Wetlands Centre up and going? Community activist, and the last of the original committee, Wendy Rhodes says there are several reasons:
1)History – the Racecourse Reserve was first designated in 1880;
2)An inviting town entrance for ‘out of towners’ so they might stay a while;
3)A way of giving ownership back to the people – they now have lovely walks, a meeting place AND a fishing place! (Little Gippsland Bass, that Carp do not eat, originally a few centimetres long are now being caught at around 1 kg!)
HOW is the community using their beautiful new Wetlands Centre, completed around 3 years ago?
-VOLUNTEERS, a group of 60, some in their 70s and 80s, all wanting to do something for the town and all able to put in half a day to man the Centre. They have lots of stories to tell and young people love to learn. Wendy says its bad for her as she’s not there during the day to meet visitors, but home on her computer, or catering for functions!
-MEETINGS & MINI CONFERENCES for up to 80 people:
*local spinners meet every week & run the Centre too;
*monthly hospital board meetings;
*DPI runs regional meetings there as Heyfield is central for all Gippsland;
*larger community functions;
*bus groups sometimes book for afternoon tea.
-WHAT ABOUT COSTS? As a non-profit organisation, the Centre does not struggle to pay insurance and maintenance with income from catering, hire and sales…and there is a donations box. Merchandising is something Wendy is getting into now.
-WHAT’S NEW? Special places for planting remembrance trees, so people can visit, watch them grow, enjoy the setting and their memories.
-ADVICE? Be positive and believe in your project, says Wendy.
FOR MORE INFO CONTACT: Heyfield Wetlands Centre
Ph: 51483404 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
OPEN: 10pm – 3pm weekdays, 10pm-4pm weekends & holidays