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Thank you Natalie

12 Feb 2015

Thank you Natalie Image

It is with a heavy heart that after two and a half years, community animator at the Boyd Community Hub Natalie Warren says farewell to Southbank.

Since opening its doors in 2012, the Boyd Community Hub has been vital in helping Southbank establish a much-needed sense of community.

From the very beginning of the hub’s establishment, Southbank has known only one community animator, who has been integral in fostering that spirit and the heart and soul of Boyd.

As she moves on to her next challenge at the Kathleen Symes Community Centre in Carlton with great excitement, Ms Warren said she would always be proud of what she had achieved in Southbank.

“For me it’s been quite a fantastic journey because there was no community infrastructure in Southbank before this building opened so it’s been wonderful to see how this community has come together,” she said.

“What has been the really pleasing thing for me has been that people look to us as the civic heart of the suburb.”

“I guess I feel I’m handing it over in a really good place and I guess, as with most projects, the ideal is to make things sustainable – that they’re ongoing.”

As the true cornerstone of the community, the City Rd community centre continues to provide a warm and welcoming environment for residents, business people and visitors of Southbank to gather and connect.

With Southbank being the only Australian suburb with an almost entirely vertical style of living, Natalie said the biggest challenge had been “trying to get people out of their buildings”.

However, with the City of Melbourne responding to statistics highlighting a growing presence of young people and families in Southbank, Natalie said it quickly became clear that the facility was something the whole community had been crying out for.

“When we actually opened our doors people were just so pleased to have it open,” she said.

“You have young people and backpackers that are sitting here, older people, there’s business people having their meetings and right beside them there’s a young parent or a parent with grandparents.”

“We’ve had great stories of connection where some people have lived in the same building and had never met each other but they meet here at a new mum’s group. If nothing else we’ve provided that.”

With the exception of the Southbank Residents Group and Southbank Rotary, Natalie said she was also proud of Boyd’s role in helping establish a range of new community groups.

And while she leaves Boyd with many fond memories she said the thing she’ll miss the most is working with children and families and the wonderful team at Boyd and the City of Melbourne.

From its establishment in 1874 through to its transformation into JH Boyd Girls School in 1979, she said everyone involved in establishing the hub was proud to continue the building’s rich legacy.

“I hope I’ve been able to embed that sense of the narrative of the building about the journey that the building has been on,” she said.

“We feel like we’ve contributed to that next chapter of that story and I think the City of Melbourne has done a great job in fitting out the building to make it work for that next chapter.”

“I think there is a great level of pride and satisfaction in how we’ve been able to serve this community.”

Southbank Local News thanks Natalie for her service to Southbank and her long support of the local newspaper. We wish her all the best in her new role in Carlton.

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