By Brendan Rees
Casey’s Sikh community is celebrating after receiving a $400,000 funding boost to help build a new community centre.
Multicultural Affairs Minister Ros Spence and Cranbourne MP Pauline Richards announced on Tuesday 15 September that the Sikh Volunteers Australia Inc., would receive the funding to support the construction of the Sikh Community Gurmat Centre Inc in Devon Meadows.
It will feature four rooms, a hall, a professional kitchen, car parking for up to 20 cars, and a playground – with construction expected to begin in November with a target end date in in March, 2021.
Ms Richards said the funding would ensure Sikh Volunteers could continue to do “their extraordinary outreach work that has made them the pride of the south east”.
“This will generate local jobs in Cranbourne and provide the Sikh community the benefit of a place to call their own,” she said.
“Victoria is a proudly multicultural state – and we don’t just tolerate diversity, we embrace it.”
Jaswinder Singh, acting secretary for Sikh Volunteers Australia, said the Sikh community was excited by the announcement.
He said the new centre would be used as disaster relief centre in times of need, as well as providing a dedicated space for community engagement, training volunteers, and organising language, culture and heritage related trainings, and a 24/7 kitchen to help feed those in need.
“It means that we can deliver the food during the working hours but the food itself will be available in the kitchen 24/7,” he said, adding any community member would be welcome to attend no matter what hour of the day including at their current facility on South Gippsland Highway in Devon Meadows which will be kept and used to continue serving the community.
It is one of 36 infrastructure projects across the state sharing in more than $3.5 million in funding through the State Government’s Multicultural Community Infrastructure Fund and the Indian Community Infrastructure Fund.
The projects will create local jobs while also helping Victorians feel connected to their cultural heritage in facilities that are safe, modern and inclusive.
In addition to the Sikh Volunteer Australia Grant, a community kitchen run by multicultural women at Wellsprings for Women in Dandenong will be renovated ensuring the South East of Melbourne is enhanced by the opportunities this grant provides.
The Multicultural Affairs Minister said: “While Stay at Home restrictions mean we can’t gather in person right now, this funding will help create safe spaces for community members to come together in a Covid-safe way, once we reach the other side.”