Hub reignites community spirit

May 15, 2022 BY

BLLC manager Deanne Linde and Member for Geelong Christine Couzens, centre, welcomed volunteers and centre participants to Monday's event. Photos: BILLY HIGGINS

A WHITTINGTON community centre is inviting its community back to its range of activities and support services as it emerges from a period of social isolation.

Bellarine Living and Learning Centre (BLLC) hosted a dual Neighbourhood Hose Week-Mother’s Day event on Monday, with dozens of participants and volunteers gathering for a morning tea, kid’s activities and live music.

Like a host of other volunteer-run organisations, BLLC endured a turbulent past two years due to pandemic pressures as restrictions added to the administrative burden of its array of activities.

But with programs returning to full capacity as restrictions ease, the centre is inviting residents to return and boost participation. BLLC manager Deanne Linde said the centre was thrilled to welcome back participants and volunteers for this week’s event.

“We are super excited to be bringing our community together to celebrate what makes the Bellarine Living and Learning Centre a special place for so many locals,” she said.

“It’s been a tough time with the COVID-19 pandemic, but I am proud of everything we have done to make it a little easier for our community.

“We were able to continue to provide food relief throughout the pandemic but many other services and programs could not continue thereby reducing opportunities for people to come together and to be supported.”


Participants and volunteers at Whittington’s Bellarine Living and Learning Centre. Photo: BILLY HIGGINS


BLLC stayed open as a foodbank service as demand increased in the past two years.

President of Australian Neighbourhood Houses and Centres Association, Nicole Battle, said the pandemic had demonstrated the importance of the local organisations and encouraged residents to return.

“This Neighbourhood House Week we acknowledge this incredible effort and the staff, volunteers and community members who made it all happen,” Ms Battle said.

“However, now as we begin to re-emerge, we are looking to rebuild the strong social connections that many people lost, building a stronger, more resilient community than ever before.”