A Bega charity that helps vulnerable women is “shocked and outraged” by what it sees as prohibitive costs to use the town’s new civic centre.
The Women’s Resource Centre was initially given a $1300 quote to use the Bega Valley Commemorative Civic Centre (BVCCC) for four hours to host a fundraiser to support its activities.
WRC coordinator Gabrielle Powell said the quote was reduced by $300 after the service agreed to set up and put away chairs as well as clean the venue themselves. Also, Bega Valley Shire Council agreed to make a $250 donation to the event.
While Ms Powell was very grateful to council for the donation, she still saw the final price of $750 as prohibitive for a charity’s fundraiser.
“That’s why there’s no events in there, because no-one can afford it,” she said.
“The community has lost access to our Bega hall.”
The reason why the WRC chose to use the venue was as organisers wanted the fundraiser to be in the heart of the community and needed a professional space.
Called the 4 Divas (plus one), the fundraiser is a concert on April 29 that features four national and international female musicians – as well as a fifth diva as master of ceremonies – all of whom have donated their time to the fundraiser. It is being coordinated by a volunteer and its posters were donated.
Ms Powell said the WRC had been operating for over 30 years and every year the number of women it assisted increased.
“We are contracted by FaCs for 1500 occasions of service and last year we achieved 5700 occasions of service,” she said.
“This is an increase of 500 on the previous year.
“More and more local women are struggling to make ends meet and use WRC to help them survive emotionally and physically.”
Bega Valley Shire Mayor Kristy McBain had been contacted about the issue and was aware of the costs involved in hiring the centre.
She said the cost was set by management of the centre, Venue Management Services (VMS), and ratified by council.
“One of the reasons we’ve chosen to terminate our agreement with VMS is because we’re not seeing the use of the centre by our community,” she said.
“Council will be taking over management in August.
“The civic centre is a town hall and we should be seeing it utilised every day.”
The 4 Divas will be at the Bega Valley Commemorative Civic Centre, Bega on April 29 from 6.30pm, featuring Jackie Mashall, Aine Tyrrell, Lucie Thorne and Melanie Horsnell.