Maffra Neighbourhood House held an open day last Saturday, showcasing its wonderful new home to the surrounding community.

After years of scrupulously saving and with the help of the federal government as part of the Building Better Regions Fund, Maffra Neighbourhood House relocated from the Maffra District Hospital to the Freemasons building opposite Maffra Primary School in April this year.

Maffra Neighbourhood House
Maffra Neighbourhood House welcomed hundreds to its Open Day. Photos Zoe Askew.

The previously vacant Freemasons building has since undergone major upgrades to accommodate the vast needs of Maffra Neighbourhood House, with a brand spanking new kitchen installed, a swishy administration office, new flooring, paint and reinvigorated accessible spaces.

Maffra Neighbourhood House manager Leahn Bulmer said the move into the new space had been a long time coming.

“It has taken us almost two years to move into our new space,” she said.

“We first engaged Freemasons in November 2020 and submitted our application for the Building Better Regions Fund Grant in March 2021.

“The outcome of the grant took a further eight months, and we commenced renovations in early February 2022.

“We moved into the building on April 28 this year.

“Freemasons Victoria has been very generous in offering this space rent-free for the next 10 years, and sees this partnership as a blueprint for further collaborations in other towns with empty buildings.”

Maffra Neighbourhood House
Maffra Neighbourhood House held its Open Day last Saturday.

The Maffra Neighbourhood House Open Day on Saturday, August 6, showcased various groups and organisations actively involved with the Maffra Neighbourhood House, including the Jigsaw Group, Dungeons and Dragons, Sewing with Dawn, Craft Group, Circle Dance, Yoga with Julie, Dawn’s Walking Group, Sing-Along With Ron and many more.

Dungeons and Dragons members Karissa Phillips and Mark Hoogerwerf.

Maffra Neighbourhood House upgrades not only provide updated amenities and larger spaces for a broader range of activities and groups, but the addition of digital technology, including iPads and computers, delivers an opportunity for those in the surrounding community to learn and develop essential digital technology skills.

Gippsland Climate Change Network, CoAbility, Life Saving Victoria and Partners in Training were some of the organisations present at Maffra Neighbourhood House, exhibiting the myriad of courses and classes they run in conjunction with the house.

“Many of our regular participants represented the groups they attend,” Ms Bulmer said.

“Many brochures were handed out, and expressions of interest were taken. The renewable energy, craft group, genealogy and CoAbility tables were popular.”

Gippsland Climate Change Network project consultant Ian Southall showing off one of his wild and wacky energy demonstrations at the Maffra Neighbourhood House Open Day.

The smell of sausages wafted down Thompson Street as the Maffra Lions Club cooked up the classic Aussie delicacy.

Just before 11am, formal affairs took their rightful place, and the official opening was sealed with the cutting of cake.

“We were really pleased with the turnout,” Ms Bulmer said.

“We have people coming and going all morning; we estimate at least a couple hundred over the two hours.”

Maffra Neighbourhood House is a not-for-profit community organisation that aims to provide pathways that encourage community involvement and learning for all ages and abilities within a caring, friendly, supportive and safe environment.

“We love our new building and were pleased to share it with our community on Saturday,” Ms Bulmer said.

CoAbility Community Program development coordinator Ron D’Arcy at the Maffra Neighbourhood House Open Day.

“We would like to thank the Lions Club of Maffra for cooking our sausages on the day and also thank our dedicated groups of volunteers who came out to assist us in facilitating this event.

“Our doors are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 3.30pm and we welcome new participants and enquiries from people who would like to run courses and groups or would like to share a skill.

“We produce our brochure every term and advertise our courses and groups on Facebook, our website, the local notice board at IGA and also by delivering a flyer to letterboxes in Maffra.

“People can call us on 5147 1487 to get added to our email distribution list if they would like to receive our brochure via email.”

Visit the Maffra Neighbourhood House Facebook page or their website at http://maffranh.wixsite.com/maffranh for more information.