Mine digs in for Bowen community centre

BOWEN Community Technology Centre (CTC) manager Paula Townsend says the generosity of a corporate benefactor is the only reason the centre will remain operational for the next 12 months.

Mrs Townsend said in these tough economic times funding had become increasingly difficult to secure, forcing the centre to rely on donations such as $30,000 from Newcrest Mining’s Cadia Valley Operations (CVO).

“Without it, we wouldn’t have a centre,” Mrs Townsend said.

“We wouldn’t be able to pay our bills.”

Mrs Townsend, who helped found the centre with Bowen Residents Action Group chairman Ron Gander in 2008, said the funding covered the cost of running the centre, including maintenance of its 12 computers, internet usage and stationary.

It also covers Mrs Townsend’s wages.

“Cadia has been a big supporter of ours because they see that the centre actually works, they see the difference in the people who use the centre,” Mrs Townsend said.

“The kids are not on the streets as much and they have an opportunity to use computers outside of school hours to do their homework.”

Students are also able to get help with their homework thanks to regular volunteers Jen Hillhouse and Kristine Smith.

The centre is also well used by adults, many of whom use the computers to hunt for jobs and write their resumes.

Mrs Townsend said while CVO was the organisation’s biggest financial supporter, other organisations contributed to the CTC, including The Smith Family and Orange City Council, which pays the centre’s electricity bills.

CVO general manager Tony McPaul said his organisation had supported the CTC through its community partnership program for the past six years.

“We believe this is a worthwhile program because the centre provides families in the Bowen and wider community with access to computers and the internet to assist them with homework, computer skills and other learning requirements,” Mr McPaul said.

“We are continually impressed by the work that Paula Townsend, in partnership with The Smith Family, accomplishes at the centre and the positive outcomes achieved for the children and adults who access the centre.”

Cadia Valley Operations has provided just over $140,000 in funding towards the centre since it was established in 2008.

“We look forward to continuing this partnership in the future,” Mr McPaul said.

CENTRE SAVED: Brad Robins and Alex Cook from Cadia Valley Operations’ community partnerships committee with Michael Whitton at the Bowen Community Technology Centre. The mining company has donated $30,000 to ensure the centre remains open for the next 12 months. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

CENTRE SAVED: Brad Robins and Alex Cook from Cadia Valley Operations’ community partnerships committee with Michael Whitton at the Bowen Community Technology Centre. The mining company has donated $30,000 to ensure the centre remains open for the next 12 months. Photo: JUDE KEOGH