Community Hub Proposed At Darling Heights State School

Ricky Adams, David Janetzki MP, Louise Noble and John-Paul Langbroek MP examine the master plan for the proposed Darling Downs Community Hub.

A group of dedicated volunteers is hoping to fundraise almost $850,000 to build a Community Hub at Darling Heights State School.

School parent/student engagement officer Ricky Adams said the multipurpose venue, which would include a commercial kitchen and men’s shed, would improve education, relationships and community integration.

“Through the hub we could provide both Australian and migrant families with information, the ability to converse, access to welfare and social organisations to enhance their quality of life and bridge the gap with the community as experienced by many families,” Mrs Adams said.

Member for Toowoomba South David Janetzki MP has invited Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs John-Paul Langbroek to meet with the community hub committee today.

“I’ve brought JP here to see our wonderful multicultural community at Darling Heights,” Mr Janetzki said.

“More than half of the school’s 670 students are from refugee and migrant families. These families come from 41 countries and speak 40 different languages,” he said.

“To support this diversity and our wider community, we need resources and this project will bring people together in one place so they can share resources, experiences and be a point of connection.”

Mr Langbroek noted Toowoomba was the third largest refugee settlement area in Queensland.

“Thousands of refugees have settled in Toowoomba in the last 16 years, and the city is also home to one of Australia’s largest Yazidi refugee communities,” Mr Langbroek said.

“About 500 Yazidi refugees settled in Toowoomba last year after Australia declared the slaughter, torture and abuse by Islamic State as genocide.

“The Darling Heights State School is perfectly positioned for a community hub and will be of great benefit to the city’s diverse population.”

Mrs Adams established a committee earlier this year to raise awareness of funds for the project.

“At the moment we run more than a dozen classes, including adult English lessons and parenting classes, out of our staff room however there is not much space and the classes can only be run in between lunch hours,” Mrs Adams said.

“We could offer so much more through a dedicated community hub – including hospitality certificates for parents and the community which would offer a pathway to employment,” she said.

“The hub would also greatly improve the mental health of families because a lot of people are socially isolated – they’ve left their families behind, they don’t work and experience social isolation because of their lack of English.”

The Darling Heights Community Hub plans include education rooms, activity rooms, a commercial standard training kitchen, a playground area, a men’s shed, a community vegetable garden, a large open area for gatherings and social events and a deck.