Who We Are
We are a community-based organisation supporting the needs of our local community through the provision of services. Based in the growth corridor of Melbourne’s South East, Balla Balla Community Centre is well located to meet the needs of the local area and surrounding district.
As a not-for-profit community-based organisation, the Balla Balla Community Centre Inc. aims to provide a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment where all members of the community are invited to come together and engage in the activities that we provide for the purpose of enhancing health and social wellbeing, as well as opportunities to advance their education.
Meaning of “Balla Balla”
The history of the name Balla Balla has links to the Indigenous community as part of their language. Whilst there are no strict interpretations for the word ‘Balla’, taken in context has two meanings. In one Indigenous language, Balla means ‘resting’ which is also part of the word and suburb, Ballarat which means ‘resting place’. In the second Indigenous language, Balla means ‘mud’, which is a very significant description of the particular area the facility is located in. Originally, at times throughout the year, this land sat at the ‘bottom’ of the swamp. This was a rich resource for the indigenous people and was seen as a ‘seasonal supermarket’. In winter, they would come to the edge of the swamp to collect birds’ eggs, eels, reeds and to harvest bark.
Interestingly, Balla Balla was also the name of one of the first homesteads to be established in the area and is the name of the council ward in which the centre is now situated. Balla Balla may have different meanings in other languages, however the intent in choosing this name was to reflect the history of the area, as well as the indigenous significance.
How the Balla Balla Community Centre Started
The Balla Balla Centre project originated from funding through the Department of Planning and Community Development and the City of Casey, and was officially opened on the 28 April 2007. Both the Department of Planning and Community Development and the City of Casey recognised the need for local community groups, organisations and businesses to have a meeting place and so the Centre was designed to accommodate a range of needs from social gatherings and club meetings, to classes and services.
In parallel with the project stage, the City of Casey applied for funding to the Department of Planning and Community Development for Neighbourhood House Coordination Funding to secure a Coordinator to “establish” a Community Centre that would be housed at the Balla Balla Centre. This application was made under the name of Cranbourne East Neighbourhood House.
In March 2007, Maree Cullinan was appointed as Coordinator to establish a Neighbourhood House in the Cranbourne East area. Having the Cranbourne East Neighbourhood House sitting in the Balla Balla Centre caused confusion within the community. Following a community survey, on the 1 January 2008 the entity was renamed the Balla Balla Community Centre and a Steering Group established from local community members. During this time the Balla Balla Community Centre was being auspiced by the City of Casey.
On the 25 September 2009, the Balla Balla Community Centre was set up as an Incorporated Association as set out in the Associations Incorporations Act 1981. The Balla Balla Community Centre presented its first Annual Report at the Annual General Meeting held on the 30 March 2010.
Our committee is made up of skillful and dedicated volunteers who meet regularly throughout the year. The current members are:
- Andy Reid – President
- Lucy Nduru – Vice President
- Johanna Nichols – Secretary
- Edwin Price – Treasurer
- Leonie Wilson – General Committee
- Robin Dzedins JP – General Committee
- Jane Kenny – General Committee
Every few years we review our strategic plan, including what we would like to achieve and how we will do this. If you would like to know more about the role of the Committee, how you could become a member or how you can otherwise contribute, please contact the President through the Centre office.
The following people keep our Centre operating with the support of our volunteers.
- Maree Cullinan – Manager
- Dianne Wilson – Finance
- Veronica D’Silva – Bookings
- Mena Grigson – Receptionist
- Tracy Symons – Playgroup
- Amber Beilharz – Social Media
Volunteers are the backbone of our Community Centre and we place great value on the contribution of each and every one of them.
If you are interested in finding out about volunteering in our organisation please contact the Centre office and we would be delighted to tell you more about the volunteering opportunities within our organisation.
We encourage people to also consider volunteering as part of our Committee of Governance. This is a great way to make a positive contribution to the local community, as well as a rewarding experience and an opportunity to share existing skills and learn new skills. Governance training is provided, and you will get lots of support from everyone at the Centre. If you are interested in finding out about joining our Committee in our organisation please contact the President through the Centre office.
Our Environmentally Responsible Facility
We are proud that the design of our facility allows us to maximise environmental sustainability. This has been achieved through the following design features:
|Orientation||To maximise north light and reduce heat gain from the west. Halls run east/west to maximise natural light on north frontage. Light coloured roof to reflect sun light/heat. Specialised glazing materials to allow visual outlook with maximum direct thermal blockage from sun.|
|Materials||Considerable use of bricks for low embodied energy.|
|Water||Rainwater tanks installed to feed toilets. AAA or higher water fixtures specified.|
|Energy||Solar water panels installed to provide majority of water heating, (electrical storage units to provide boosting when required). Custom shading design to north facing windows to prevent heat gain during summer months. New facility is separately sub-metered from the “Cranbourne Complex”, allowing accurate monitoring of electrical and water usage of facility.|
|Lighting||Zoned lighting circuits, providing users with greater control over lighting arrangements.|
|Ventilation||Only occupied spaces are air conditioned (e.g. halls, offices and meeting rooms) with contained zone over reception desk. Mechanical louvers to expel hot air from halls.|
Our multicultural community is made up existing, and new home owners who are establishing themselves in a rapidly growing area. Our programs and activities are reflective of our community and include special interest programs, cooking programs, children’s activities, health and wellbeing, and art and craft programs. Everyone is welcome at the Centre, so please come in and talk to our friendly staff and volunteers to find out what programs and activities we offer, and find out how you might get involved.
Our meeting rooms and halls are used by community organisations for functions and events through our venue hire program which facilitates the partnership between community group/organisations and the Centre that provides support and service delivery.
Balla Balla Community Centre is part of the City of Casey’s network of fourteen Neighbourhood Houses and Community Learning Centres’ in the municipality.