$600,000 brings community hub home to Houghton

12 Oct 2020

A ‘community hub’ is about to be built at the Houghton, Inglewood and Hermitage Soldiers Memorial Park thanks to $600,000 in funding secured by the Federal Member for Mayo, Rebekha Sharkie.

The funding will cover about half the $1.2 million cost of Stage 2, which will be built as a second storey to the new changerooms planned for the oval area.

The funding was announced in the Federal Budget.

Following the Budget announcement, Federal Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said: "The Australian Government is proud to provide nearly $6 million in funding for local infrastructure projects in Mayo that will support communities and rebuild the local economy. Rebekha Sharkie's advocacy has played a key role in securing funding for these projects. Rebekha has been a strong advocate for local infrastructure projects that boost the local economy and strengthen community and relationships."

Rebekha said: "I’m really excited for the Houghton, Inglewood and Hermitage community. When these projects are finished, they will finally have modern facilities for local sport but also an accessible and well-designed gathering place for everyone in the local area."

“I’ve visited the park many times and I have even hosted a community forum in the existing clubrooms and to say the facilities there are rudimentary is an understatement," she said.

“Like many country communities in Mayo, the park area and facilities were purchased and built using donations and local volunteer labour back in the 1950s with piecemeal renovations in the ensuing decades.

“Not long after I was first elected in 2016 the park committee shared with me their multi-stage vision for building change rooms and a new community centre and I have committed to advocating on their behalf with the Federal Government.

“Earlier this year they successfully applied for a $435,000 State Government grant to build Stage 1, which will deliver changerooms to modern standards.

“This $600,000 from the Federal Government will cover half the cost of Stage 2 and deliver a community hub that will be inclusive of everyone.

“The Committee envisages residents using the hub for meetings and forums, 21sts and yoga, and with the oval being a Bushfire Place of Last Resort, it can also be used by residents in times of emergency.

“The Houghton CWA has also contributed funds from the sale of their old clubrooms to this project and they will be using the hub as their meeting place.

“I look forward to seeing the project completed.”

Houghton, Inglewood and Hermitage Soldiers Memorial Park President Matt Thomas said the funding would help the committee deliver on both stages of their master plan.

“This funding plays a significant part in enabling us to deliver on our master plan to build a new Multi-Use Community Hub which will dramatically improve our ability to engage with the community,” Matt said.

“Community engagement drives resilience in the community.

“The bushfires in 2015 and 2019 highlighted the importance of what we are trying to achieve with the new Community Hub.

“The Houghton District Football Club commenced junior football 3 years ago and their significant growth in junior players is not support by the current facilities.”

Photo: Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie, third from left, stands outside the existing oval facilities with members of the Houghton, Inglewood and Hermitage Soldiers Memorial Park Shirley Warner, Karen Warner, Helen Atkinson, Margarete Ehrhardt, Han Robat, Joe Underwood, Polly Underwood, Helen Kroepsch, Brenda Stenhouse, Barry Miller, David Wark, Nat Young and Matt Thomas.

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