THE extension work on the Bowen Community Technology Centre is a genuine example of a community helping itself, and with outstanding results.
Yesterday work began on a new computer room at the Spring Street site which will provide space for five additional computer terminals and more opportunities for the neighbourhood kids who use the centre after school.
It was money well spent by the NSW government under its community building partnership program but it is worth remembering the community technology centre was the product of the vision and determination of a small group of Bowen residents.
After years of putting up with street crime and anti-social behaviour in the area the Bowen Residents Action Group (BRAG) took it upon itself to turn things around.
Part of its strategy was to get residents and police more involved in reporting and responding to crime.
A more vigilant approach certainly sent the message that crime would no longer be ignored but BRAG also succeeded in highlighting the disadvantage in the area and putting it on the funding radar of first a Labor and subsequently a Liberal/National government.
The results include changes to the mix of public housing in the area, replacing a footbridge over the Blackmans Swamp Creek with a road bridge and improving community facilities.
The community technology centre is an example of the latter and how facilities can build a sense of community which benefits all residents.
The community technology centre has been so successful that when an expansion was needed the money has been made available.
There can be no doubt that without the centre many children would not have access to computers outside of school hours and their education would suffer.
The community in this part of Bowen has received a great deal of government and council support but the driving force for its success has come from the community itself.