In 1988 The Meeting Place gained funding from the QLD Department of Family Services, coming under the umbrella of the Neighbourhood Centres Program and relocated to a Family Services owned house at 35 Coronation Avenue, Nambour.
The new premises boasted bigger, more spacious, lighter rooms (two bathrooms and four toilets). It also had a new co-ordinator, Dorothy Hall, who brought a lot of experience, particularly in personal growth, communications, wisdom, a big heart and a great sense of humour. Having been with The Meeting Place since its inception. Dorothy was involved in the steering committee, acted as a facilitator, supported Barbara, cooked the dinners and she carries the vision of The Meeting Place.
In March 1988 the former member for Nicklin, Brian Austin performed the official opening with more than 50 members, co-ordinators and volunteers in attendance.
The Meeting Place started broadening its appeal to people and tried steering away from the alternative image they had in the past. The focus had more emphasis on family and personal relationships. The Meeting Place provided support for the young people of Nambour, ethnic communities, disadvantaged people, young mothers and other groups whose needs were not met by mainstream services.
In May of 1988 the classes, courses and support groups available were; Esoteric healing, yoga, Course in Miracles, Budget Massage, Breath Connection Clinic, Prosperity with Bill Les Emery, Super Learning, Healing, Hare Krishna Dinners, Women Who Love Too Much, Lazaris, Games Club, Krishnamurti, Sunshine Coast Psychic Healers, Simply Child’s Play, to name a few.
Not only is it a venue where many varied groups of interested people can meet, but it also has a potential for becoming the focus and initiator of services, facilities and new groups which can go some way to meeting our community’s needs.
In 1988 Marybeth Sarran participated in an activity for pregnant women. She started work as a volunteer soon after, then became a committee member and a consultant in the ensuing 10 years. Some of Marybeth’s highlights are the success of the Women's Health Worker submission in which she was actively involved, her role as Women's Health Worker, the Life After Violence Program, and her involvement as a committee member.
September 1988 Leah Gibb took over as co-ordinator/community development worker and continued in this role until 1994. Some of Leah’s highlights included, the first Health and Lifestyle Expo, Women’s Health Expo, DOVES program and The Happy as Punch Street Theatre.
In 1989 Des Ritchie set up a recycling centre at The Meeting Place, as there was none available in the community. The Meeting Place became more female orientated which did not please everybody. In 1991 The Meeting Place got government funding for one full time and one part time worker (10 hours per week).
Late in 1991 Suncoast Male Emotion Resource Initiative (SMERI) originated when a group of concerned workers in the caring profession began to realise that male emotions and males in crisis were not being adequately catered for in the community. By April 1992 (SMERI) was officially launched. It consisted of male and female volunteer phone counsellors. It was at this time that the Police Prosecutor approached the committee regarding the Domestic Violence Court and the huge need that there was for this support program for men.
In 1994 The Meeting Place was privileged to acquire the services of Pin Ying Lim as the new Health Worker. She was funded for 12 months in a program for Anorexia/Bulimia Nervosa. The main aim of this program was to better inform the community and support the families and friends of those suffering this eating disorder and the effects thereof. Yvonne Pettinger took over as editor of the magazine, Secta, which is a very informative community magazine produced by The Meeting Place.
Cim Gillies became the Resource Officer in the Child Abuse Prevention Program, Di Holmes became the new Administrator while Katie Contini resigned as Women’s Health Worker.
Linda Cakebread became the new coordinator and community development worker.
In August of 1995 Leonie Hempsall became coordinator. She brought with her a wealth of experience and local knowledge as well as her extensive networks and an inclusive personal style.
Libby Urbahn, a very well informed and experienced Women’s Health Worker join the team at The Meeting Place. The success of Child Protection Week was very well received and ended with a Family Fun day at the Maroochydore Youth Club. The aim of the day was to bring families together to have old fashioned fun.
In September 1996 with Linda Lewis as the chairperson the government announced funding for The Meeting Place to find new premises. With the need for more services on the Sunshine Coast this news was extremely welcome and so the search for a better, bigger and more user-friendly premises began.
Some exciting and varied programs have occurred at The Meeting Place in recent years. The Life After Violence Program was jointly co-ordinated by Marybeth Sarran and Judy Pidcock. One feature of this program included an innovative 20-week group and narrative therapy approach. Judy also facilitated for 18 months the Young Women's Network. This only occurred because of the donation of many hours of committed volunteer work as the funding was originally for 3-6 months.
In 1996 funding from the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) enabled a program (co-ordinated by Judy and Marybeth) for young women under 20 (including those with Intellectual Disabilities) to workshop issues about reproduction, fertility and menstruation. This culminated in a display of clay work at the Noosa Art Gallery.
Judy continues at The Meeting Place as the Violence Prevention Worker, which includes her role as Child Abuse Prevention Worker. Leonie has also been a driving force in the establishment of the Men's Accommodation Project (MAP) which is now operational.
The Meeting Place Community Centre Inc has really made a vast difference to the number of services, programs and support groups on the Sunshine Coast. Over the last 20 Years the library has been steadily growing and now hosts an excellent variety of books, videos and other information. Even though the number and nature of the services have changed over the years the vision of one lady, Gail Perry, has remained in focus, and that is that Nambour needed a safe friendly place for the community to meet, share a cuppa and support each other. Today that is still the priority of The Nambour Community Centre Inc.