Q&A: Meet the new Neighbourhood Coordinator at Encircle

Published 5:00am 6 August 2022

Q&A: Meet the new Neighbourhood Coordinator at Encircle
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

When people in the Moreton Bay community need help, one of the organisations they can turn to for assistance is Encircle.

With three community neighbourhood centres in the region – Redcliffe, Kallangur and Pine Rivers – Encircle helps thousands of people each year who are struggling with homelessness, financial stress, mental health and more.

Encircle recently welcomed a new Neighbourhoods Coordinator – Chrissie Kelly - who will oversee the three centres and the services they provide.

With more than 20 years’ experience working in the Community Services sector, Chrissie has a wealth of knowledge on how to help people in need.

We spoke to Chrissie to find out more about her, what her goals are for the three neighbourhood centres, and why it is important for people to reach out when life gets tough.

Q: Congratulations about starting your new role at Encircle. What inspired you to come and work here?

A: I’ve been a Moreton Bay local for over 20 years, so I have been well aware of the great support and initiatives that Encircle provides to the Moreton Bay community. Having an opportunity to work in my local community means I have the opportunity of being part of making a lasting difference in the community in which I live.

Q: What skills and experience do you bring to this role?

A: I’ve been in the Community Services sector for over 20 years working across mental health, alcohol and other drugs, homelessness, counselling, community development and community services management. I spent many years as a TAFE teacher delivering and assessing nationally recognised community service qualifications, so I hold experience and knowledge aligned with a best practice approach.

Q: How have you found the first few weeks on the job, and what do you love most about your new workplace?

A: It’s been exciting! The Encircle staff have given me a really warm welcome. I love that the organisation’s values and goals of being person centered and inclusive aligns with my own personal and professional framework, so I know we can do good work together at Encircle.

Q&A: Meet the new Neighbourhood Coordinator at Encircle

Q: Do you have any goals or ideas that you would like to implement in the coming year?

A: It is important (from a community development perspective) that initiatives for the local community are community led. To this end, I intend to engage with people in the community so they have a channel to express the needs of the community. This holistic approach is grounded by the principals of human rights, inclusiveness, social justice and self-determination. Community members are the experts in their own lives and acknowledging this as a valuable resource and change agent in moving forward is something I’m keen to continue advocating. Working collaboratively with our First Nations peoples to provide opportunities to enhance community outcomes is another important part of the work that I do.

Q: For people who might not be familiar with Encircle, can you please explain why the centres are so important to the community.

A: The benefits to the community are endless. Encircle Neighbourhood Centres unite the community to come together, provide volunteering opportunities, reduce isolation and loneliness, provide positive impacts to the community, share valuable information and resources and provide educational opportunities to name just a few. They are the lifeblood of the community and play a valuable part in connection.

Q: Who can access the services at Encircle?

A: Encircle has an open-door policy, so everyone is welcome at any of the three centres across the Moreton Bay Region. We especially encourage marginalised groups to come forward and connect with their community.

Q: What would you like to say to someone who might be unsure of asking for help?

A: We know that at times its isn’t easy asking for help, however here at Encircle, we are here to assist with your concerns, and we will welcome you into our warm and friendly Neighbourhood Centres.

Q: How can people in the wider community help Encircle and your visions?

A: Join us in working collaboratively to achieve community goals and build a strong and resilient community. We would love to see more volunteers, corporate partners and sponsors, and community groups using the spaces. I love the quote by Coral Scott King - The greatness of a community is most arcuately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.

Where to go for help

If you or someone you know needs assistance, you can visit Encircle at the following locations:

Encircle Redcliffe Neighbourhood Centre

Address: 1 Lamington Dr, Redcliffe

Phone: 3284 3081 

Encircle Kallangur Neighbourhood Centre

Address: 51 Marsden Rd Kallangur

Phone: 3465 3200

Encircle Pine Rivers Neighbourhood Centre

Address: 865 Gympie Road, Lawnton

Phone: 3889 0063

Or you can visit their website at https://encircle.org.au/

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