BCG openingDeputy Premier and Member for South Brisbane, Jackie Trad, has opened two community-building projects at the Hope Street premises of affordable and supportive housing provider Common Ground Queensland.

Common Ground Queensland CEO, Sonya Keep, said the two projects — a fitness and wellbeing centre and a new open green space — had been designed to strengthen links between Common Ground tenants and the local South Brisbane community.

“It is great to have the Deputy Premier open our new facilities and recognise the role they will play in building bonds between Common Ground tenants and others in our local community,” Ms Keep said.

“Since mid-2012 Common Ground Queensland has operated a 14-storey, 146-unit building in Hope Street, South Brisbane with tenancy services provided by community services organisation Micah Projects.

“Our 146 units are split around 50/50 between previously homeless people living on the streets, and those at risk of homelessness because they cannot afford the private rental market.”

Ms Keep said consultations with tenants had identified a need for an on-site fitness and wellbeing centre as well as an open-air green space both of which would be accessible to other members of the local community.

“These projects have been made possible thanks to support of the Department of Housing and Public Works and the contributions of our tenants, partners, funders, donors and supporters.

“A generous $4,000 donation we received from one of our former board members, Phil Heraghty and his wife Rose, allowed us to renovate and equip an existing stand-alone room into a centre where social enterprise fitness group Rise Industries will offer our tenants access to free fitness sessions.  A $3,000 grant received from SUEZ Environnment Community Grants provided the funding to purchase equipment that will enhance the number and quality of the fitness activities offered from the space.

“Griffith University researchers will evaluate this initiative and document the outcomes and benefits derived by tenants.

“Others who contributed to the fitness centre’s development were Lewis Bros Mitre 10 Hardware, Stowe Electrical, and construction group Grocon.”

Ms Keep said a $32,000 Gambling Community Benefit Fund grant received by Common Ground Queensland enabled the development of the new community space.