Australian Senator David Van (Victoria) and Dr Katie Allen MP ( Federal member for Higgins) announced the Morrison government's support for an expansion of the Greek Community of Melbourne’s (GCM) Greek Centre Hub program with a 1.8 million dollar commitment to the project.
The project will see an upgrade in amenity and facility at 5 Greek Community locations including at Evangelismos in East Melbourne, the community halls at St Eleftherios in Brunswick and St George in Thornbury, the community house in Leeds Street Footscray and at the community hall at St Demetrios in Windsor, where the visiting Senator and local member made their announcement.
The funding will assist in delivering suitable facilities from which the GCM’s cultural, educational and community programs will run from in a localised approach and delivery.
“The thriving Greek Community plays a vital role in making Melbourne the multicultural capital of Australia and will greatly benefit from these projects. I am proud that the Morrison Government is prioritising multicultural spaces which are the heart and soul of the community,” said Senator David Van.
Local member Dr Katie Allen MP said: “The Greek nation has a long and proud history as the birth of democracy. Our local Greek community continues the vibrant cultural aspect of that wonderful history through family and faith. This funding will help support the vibrant multicultural contribution this wonderful community makes to Australia and Higgins in particular.”.
Speaking on behalf of the GCM, President Bill Papastergiadis OAM said “We thank the Federal Government for its continued support. Our organisation is one part of the multicultural and cosmopolitan fabric of our country and the Federal Government has invested in key aspects of the organisation. This announcement today demonstrates in real terms the commitment of the Federal Government to the Greek Community of Melbourne. Our community halls will now be enhanced so that they offer more services to the broader community at a time when covid has heightened the need for all of us to reconnect.”
During the Covid lockdowns, the GCM’s community halls in Thornbury, Brunswick and Windsor were important vaccine distribution ‘hubs’ in a program run by both the State and Federal Governments. Whilst proving that they were strong meeting points for locals, they also showed the need for much need improvement to each facility.
This funding by the Federal Government will allow the Greek Community of Melbourne to add to the infrastructure of these Community spaces so as to not only enhance their ability to deliver the activity we plan to offer, but also for them to become real hubs of connection.
I am excited by this announcement and look forward to making these community spaces a better place for all of us to connect.
Attending the announcement were also GCM Vice Presidents Anthie Sidiropoulos and Michael Karamitos along with fellow Board member Dr Spiridoula Demetriou.
Ms Sidiropoulos said: “I am excited to see that the great programming that we deliver and are developing for our city HUB, will now find satellite homes across Melbourne.”
Mr Karamitos was particularly keen on the HUB program being expanded saying: “the output of cultural programming that we would like to be doing requires facilities that are suitable. With the Governments support we will now have these facilities.
Dr Demetriou was also enthused by the potential the Government support will now unlock saying: “The HUB project looks to present a range of programs that can now be localised and targeted to suit their specific community’s needs.”