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30th – 31st May 2019
Uniting Church Hall, Hyde St Bellingen

Register for Affordable Housing ForumThe second annual Bellingen & Nambucca Affordable Housing Local Solutions Forum will continue its focus on encouraging a range of local solutions to the national affordable housing crisis. This year’s event will also showcase the work and projects that have progressed since 2018, including a tiny home prototype and community land trust initiative.

With great speakers coming from near and far the forum is about exploring the local solutions for affordable housing that can work in our region. Keynote speakers include Dr Gregory P Smith (Southern Cross University) & Adrian Pisarski (National Shelter). There will be a Tiny Home prototype on display and an Expo of various housing services and specialists. We will host a Fundraising Dinner on Thursday, the 30th May at 6pm at Cedar Bar & Kitchen, Bellingen- proceeds going to support the work of the Action Group into the future.

The forum will continue sharing information that encourages groups of people and relevant stakeholders to take great ideas forward and turn them into practical actions. We hope that people who come to the forum will continue developing affordable housing in the Bellingen, Nambucca and greater Mid North Coast region- because together we can make a difference!

Find the Full Program here or for more information contact

The opportunity

Urunga Neighbourhood Centre Incorporated (UNC Inc) and Bellingen Neighbourhood Centre Inc (BNC Inc) are seeking to either contract or employ a professional with suitable skills and experience to deliver the Stronger Together Girrwaawa Balmuun amalgamation project (the Project).

The Project involves undertaking the planning, preparation, engagement and communication required to enable a smooth transition to an amalgamation of UNC Inc and BNC Inc.

The Project worker will work closely with the Amalgamation Steering Committee throughout the implementation of the Project. Project deliverables, key dates and reporting arrangements will be confirmed in the process of finalising the appointment.


Urunga Neighbourhood Centre Incorporated (UNC Inc) and Bellingen Neighbourhood Centre Inc (BNC Inc) are membership based community organisations located in the Bellingen Shire. Each is governed by a separate voluntary community based management committee.

Both have long histories and each has made important contributions over decades to the communities that they serve. We intend to sustain the viability of both organisations and enable growth to support the aspirations and needs of people living across the Bellingen Shire. The plan is to secure the future presence, availability and viability of Bellingen Shire’s neighbourhood community organisations and achieve a stronger and united Shire-wide community development presence that is resilient to external threats, prepared for change and able to thrive.

Late 2017, an Amalgamations Options Study was commissioned resulting in joint agreement by BNC Inc and UNC Inc to move towards amalgamation of the two organisations. To begin with, both Management Committees began meeting jointly on a bi-monthly basis and senior positions were shared resulting in stronger alliance between the organisations. In January 2019, the Management Committees unanimously agreed to undertake the formal process of amalgamation.

An Amalgamation Steering Group comprising BNC Inc and UNC Inc management committee representatives and the shared Manager has been established to manage this process. This is the Stronger Together Girrwaawa Balmuun project.

Experience and skills required

The successful candidate/consultant will demonstrate the following:

  1. Experience in planning and managing change projects*
  2. Experience in one or more of the following areas: stakeholder engagement and consultation; due diligence; organisation development or design
  3. Highly developed communication and interpersonal skills
  4. Ability to work autonomously and collaboratively to deliver projects

*Project management in the NGO/community sector or a related public sector is desirable.

Proposed project budget and timeline

The budget for the Project will be no more than $22,000 inclusive of expenses. It is anticipated that the Project will be undertaken part-time over a six month period from March to August 2019.

Expressions of Interest

To express your interest in the Project opportunity please submit:

  1. A letter (up to two pages) outlining your response to the experience and skills required for the project and how you would approach delivery of the project; and
  2. Current curriculum vitae.

If you propose to undertake the role as contractor or consultant, we anticipate that you will provide details of your estimated professional costs having regard to the budget for the project.
If your interest is in an employee role, the position would most likely be 2-3 days a week for six months.

Expressions of Interest are to be addressed to the Amalgamation Steering Group and
emailed to to be received by 5:00pm Thursday 14 February 2019.

Questions about the EOI? Contact Rosie Wickert 0419 401 901 or at

Bellingen Neighbourhood Centre is celebrating 40 years of serving our community! What better way to celebrate our 40th year than a week-long celebration from 1st to 4th May 2018 in National Neighbourhood Centre Week.

Bellingen Neighbourhood Centre’s vision is a diverse, inclusive and connected community of resilient people. We are locally based, community managed and work together with a lot of other services, groups and organisations to reduce disadvantage, build connections and resilience, and to offer opportunities for engagement and participation and inclusion with particular focus given to disadvantaged community members. Through this work, connections and knowledge of the community is increased and residents become more aware of resources available to them.

We got to thinking about this year’s theme of Belonging – what does it mean to us; and what might it mean to others with different abilities, culture and background?

The Neighbourhood Centre is liaising with local Gumbaynggirr community representatives to put on a day of local Aboriginal cultural information and activities in both Bellingen and Urunga. There will be language, art, dance, song, tucker and yarning.

On another day in Neighbourhood Centre Week, there will be more fun, games and activities for people of all abilities and especially for people with disability, their families and carers. A number of service providers whose work focuses on supporting people with disability and their families will be there and happy to chat and provide information about their services and the links, opportunities and support available.

Finishing off the week of Friday 4th May, Bellingen Neighbourhood Centre is putting on a 40th Birthday Party to remember. We are hosting a free, all-age family-friendly community event in Maam Gaduying Park in Bellingen starting at 4:30pm. There will be delicious food, engaging entertainment, the chance to dance, and great company … so be sure to save the date!

Program of Events

Check out BNC’s Facebook page.

For more info and if you want to get involved, contact Coordinator, May Smith, at Bellingen Neighbourhood Centre at or call her Monday, Wednesday or Friday on 6655 1239.


3rd – 4th May 2018
Uniting Church Hall, Hyde St Bellingen

The Bellingen & Nambucca Affordable Housing Local Solutions Forum focuses on encouraging a range of local solutions to the national affordable housing crisis.

With great speakers coming from near and far to talk about different approaches, the forum will bring together a range of stakeholders including local government, home and land owners, developers, planners, architects and designers, potential investors, financial institutions, real estate agents, service providers, other government representatives and interested community members.

This forum is about exploring local solutions for affordable housing and will be of interest to anyone wanting to learn or get involved with different approaches to affordable housing. We will explore innovative and practical ways to grow affordable, well-designed and homes for people living on the Mid North Coast of NSW that are appropriate to current and predicted demands.

We want to share information which encourages groups of people and relevant agencies to take great ideas forward and turn them into practical actions and hope that some people who come to the forum will form new projects to work on ideas for affordable housing in the Bellingen, Nambucca and greater Mid North Coast region.

Click on speakers name to read their bio.
Speakers include:

We are hosting a fundraising dinner on Thursday night with two interesting key note speakers – Dr Ben Spies-Butcher (Macquarie Uni, NSW Shelter & COTA) and Dr Louise Crabtree (Western Sydney Uni) at Cedar Bar and Kitchen. Funds raised will help us cover costs and fund further local work by the Affordable Housing Action Group.

Tickets for the dinner are $50 and available through the sticky tickets registration link below. Fundraising dinner tickets SOLD OUT.

To view event program, please click button below.

Event Program



Gary White

As NSW Chief Planner Gary is responsible for overseeing projects that will deliver an easier and more efficient planning system as well as providing expert advice on projects that will help our communities in the long term.

With almost 40 years planning experience, Gary has held some of the most senior planning positions both in NSW and Queensland. This includes City Planner for Ipswich City Council, Deputy Director-General for Queensland’s Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning and later as the Department’s first Government Planner, as well as roles within the private sector participating in all aspects of the National Planning Agenda.

“I’ve never doubted my enthusiasm for great planning. My favourite mythical theme aligned to my planning thinking is the phoenix, a creature which despite changes and challenges can keep reinventing itself.”

Gary’s enthusiasm has been at the fore of his career, including one of his proudest achievements was working for Redland Shire Council. In 1989, Gary was instrumental in helping to preserve prime land at Point Halloran Conversation Area. As the council’s town planner, he had the foresight to see the area would be better used for environmental purposes rather than a proposed development.

Today, it is a thriving spot for koalas and native species.

Karen Walsh

Karen joined Shelter NSW as CEO in late 2017. Prior to joining Shelter NSW Karen held two General Manager roles at SGCH from 2010 to 2016, leading the social and affordable housing strategy, policy and delivery; business and service improvement; community regeneration and placemaking; and more recently leading the Group business growth strategy strategic partnerships, innovation and impact. Prior to joining SGCH, Karens career in Australia includes 12 years in the NSW State Government in senior and executive roles in Aboriginal housing, public and community housing leading strategy and reform; strategic policy and partnerships; community regeneration; business development and improvement; and service planning and contracting. Her career in the UK was in child protection and disability services as a qualified social worker. Karen also has two Masters Degrees – in Social Policy (UWS) and an Executive Masters in Public Administration (USyd/UNSW), is as an Associate of the Institute of Public Policy and Governance at University of Technology, Sydney,and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Karen has been a Director on a number of not for profit Boards, including peak bodies and is currently a Director on the Sydney Heritage Fleet (Sydney Maritime Museum).

Dr John Martin

Dr John Martin is an emeritus professor at La Trobe University. He is a public policy and management scholar who has focused on local government across Australia throughout his career (University of Canberra 1978-98). This has included setting the strategic direction of the council, understanding what makes for an effective working relationship between the elected councillors and senior managers (Queensland University of Technology 1998-02). As the director of two regional research centres (RMIT Hamilton 2002-05 and La Trobe Bendigo 2006-14) his research and consulting has also included working with water authorities, regional development associations and agricultural industries.

John has also worked for international development agencies including the World Bank, the ADB, UNDP and AusAID in the Asia Pacific region and South Africa in the development of local government. In 2015 he was visiting professor in public sector performance management at the University of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy.

John’s undergraduate degree is in ecology and natural resource management. He holds postgraduate qualifications in public administration, sociology, higher education and a PhD in political science and international relations from the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University (1997).

James Brown

James Brown is the CEO of Common Equity NSW, the peak body for Housing Co-operatives in NSW.

James has over 15 year’s experience in Executive and leadership roles in local government, public health, aged care and housing. Drawing on diverse roles covering political, strategic and practical perspectives in pursuit of the public good. James presents a unique view and is seeking to bring about change in Australia’s housing market by fostering a consumer-led approach to housing.

With a growing body of evidence and many international exemplars, it is time for policy-makers, financiers and developers in Australia to accept the fact that Housing Co-operatives ought to play a significantly bigger role in Australia’s housing market. Housing Co-operatives deliver economic and social benefits at the same time as delivering affordability, diversity, innovation and choice.

Hanna Ebeling

Hanna Ebeling is Head of Portfolio Management at SEFA where she leads a team who works closely with mission-driven organisations to understand what makes them resilient, and how to structure debt instruments to suit their needs. She is passionate about blended finance deals and innovative housing solutions. Prior to Australia, Hanna spent two years in the Philippines, managing an early-stage social enterprise accelerator program for LGT Impact Ventures and writing a business plan on affordable housing with United Nations and the Hilti Foundation. Before moving into impact investing, Hanna spent six years in banking with HSBC globally, lastly working for the CIO of Group Private Banking.

Heather Bolstler

Originally a mother of two and high school drama teacher in Canada, Heather owned and ran a corporate training company in Sydney for many years. Ten years ago she and husband Rick moved to Mitchells Island with two other couples into a cooperatively-designed home. Considerable publicity has been generated by Heather’s book, Shedders, which captures the story of how this group of six created a vision of living together in a small community of trusted friends, how they worked through the fraught process of dealing with the money and the thousand small decisions, and finally how the dream came to be realised beyond expectations.

Tricia Helyar

Tricia Helyar Architect (THA) is a practice based in Bellingen on the mid-north coast of NSW. THA is committed to design excellence with a record of high quality residential projects. Tricia is passionate about architecture and the role architects can play in society and has over 20 years of experience working for individual clients, community organisations and the not-for-profit sector. Tricia has served many roles in professional organisations and is the current Chair of the Australian Institute of Architects NSW Country Division (2016-2018).

Wroth Wall

Wroth Wall is a practicing solicitor from Mullumbimby with over 30 years experience in the issues that relate to or affect communities and groups of individuals who own land together. His experience in this area is unsurpassed in Australia. Wroth has drawn up constitutions, co-owners deeds, trust deeds and other founding documents for hundreds of communities and groups of people on the north coast of NSW and elsewhere. He has pioneered the widespread use of co-owner deeds in the Byron area, initiated the use of lease-hold interests for rural land sharing communities and was the original proponent for the conversion of rural land sharing communities to community title subdivisions. He has represented groups of individuals forming communities, as well as individual landowners and developers.

His work has involved advising on the structure of forming communities, drafting constitutional documents, revising legal arrangements, dealing with conveyancing issues and dealing with disputes between members of groups. As well as working with residential communities, Wroth has acted for religious, permaculture, environmental, indigenous and other not-for-profit groups to help them work together to achieve their shared goals.

Wroth has served on the boards of not for profit organisations for over 30 years, including acting as the chairperson for Northern Rivers Performing Arts for nearly 20 years; and more recently as a board member of Shearwater Steiner School for over seven years. Wroth has a strong view that the not for profit sector is a fundamental element of the future profile for affordable housing in Australia.

Gary Flomenhoft

Gary has a master’s degree in public policy and ecological economics. He was a Research Fellow at the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont for 12 years, from 2002-2013.

Whilst living in Burlington, Vermont he was a 10 year, two time resident of Champlain Housing Trust. (Gary is currently a PhD student at UQ focusing on communal mineral rights at the Sustainable Minerals Institute). He is an academic writer on land as a false commodity, and a strong CLT advocate.

Anna Chetan Bloemhard

Anna Bloemhard is a counsellor, she is trained in Conflict Resolution, Gestalt and Mindfulness Therapy. She taught at Southern Cross University in the School of Social Sciences and wrote a Research Masters on the topic of Spiritual Care in RACFs . Her Honours thesis explored how to improve communication and decision making on Bundagen.

From 2006-2009 she conducted the Commonwealth funded ‘Spiritual Care Project’ in Coffs Harbour. Anna now coordinates Miindala, (NALAG Inc), a local volunteer organization that supports people in loss and grief, as well as educating the public about death and dying.

Since 1985 she has lived in Bundagen Community, a rural cooperative with 120 resident members. Over the years she has been the secretary, facilitated community processes, was the Aboriginal liaison, and a member of the conflict resolution group.

Dr Ben Spies-Butcher

Ben Spies-Butcher is a Senior Lecturer and Director of the Masters of Policy and Applied Social Research in the Sociology Department at Macquarie University. His work focuses on how we combine public and private funding of social policy, in areas like housing, healthcare and pensions. Alongside his academic publications he works with a number of civil society groups on these issues. Ben is a Board member of Shelter NSW, a member of the Policy Advisory Group for COTA NSW, a member of the research committee for Unions NSW and a Research Associate at the Retirement Policy and Research Centre at the University of Auckland. He is a Social Policy Whisperer for The Power to Persuade blog and last year was awarded the Glenda Powell Travelling Fellowship by the Australian Association of Gerontologists.

Dr Louise Crabtree

Louise was awarded her PhD in Human Geography from Macquarie University in 2007 and has been with Western Sydney University since 2007. Her research focuses on the social, ecological and economic sustainability of community-driven housing developments in Australia; on the uptake of housing innovation in practice and policy; on complex adaptive systems theory in urban contexts; and, on the interfaces between sustainability, property rights, institutional design and democracy. Her recent and ongoing projects focus on two practical areas funded by a series of competitive research grants — community land trusts and participatory mapping methodologies. Both are being used to simultaneously foster social innovation and equity outcomes on the ground, and explore and build theory on multi-stakeholder governance, decolonisation, property law, resilience and citizenship. Louise’s work on resilience and governance in community housing was the basis for her receipt of the inaugural Housing Minister’s Award for Early Career Researchers in 2009; in announcing the award, the Hon. Tanya Plibersek described the work as ‘crucial’.

Let’s celebrate grandparents whether here, there, near or far.

Celebrate our grandparents with a free morning tea picnic in the park, along with music and activities for everyone to enjoy. Bring a picnic rug or seating. Sensory-friendly safe place will be available.

When: 9:30am to 12 noon, Sunday October 29, 2017.

Venue: Maam Gaduying – Meeting Place Park (council grounds) , Hyde Street Bellingen.

  • Morning Tea: Waffles with maple syrup, Fruit, coffee & tea
  • Story telling with Julia
  • Face Painting with Lucia
  • Activities: Colouring in, Photo booth, Seed planting
  • Entertainment: Bellingen Big Band, Akabella

For further details contact:

May Smith – Bellingen Neighbourhood Centre

P: 02 66551239


Please help support a very special Easter raffle we are supporting- Tickets are $2 each or 3 for $5

Can be purchased form Bellingen Neighbourhood Centre reception till Monday 21st March when it is drawn at 12 noon

chicken raffle

Parent course flyer cranes 2016Parent course flyer cranes  NO.2 2016Free workshops running this month in Bellingen @ the Youth Hub Bookings are essential please contact 0429839473

Praise Day Service St Margaret’s Angilcan Church Bellingen ~ Sunday 17th May 2015

The Bellingen Neighbourhood Centre extends it’s warm thanks towards St Margaret’s Anglican Church, Parish & Congregation for their generous donation and support towards the work of the BNC Committee, staff and volunteers.

A cheque was presented to Gordon Jacob by Rev’d Zoe Everingham after he spoke to the Congregation during the Praise Day Service about the social justices issues that currently challenge our local community, and the work of the Neighbourhood Centre with these issues.


The Bellingen Neighbourhood Centre & Bellingen Rotary Club presented Bello’s biggest Morning Tea to help raise funds for Cancer Research & to date, $900 has been raised.

BNC President Kerry Child with volunteers preparing the food for morning tea.


 Special cake box’s were pre-ordered & personally delivered to local business


In & around the Morning Tea Tent

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 Enjoying the Morning Tea


Special Guests


Paul McLoud from the office of Luke Hartsuyker Federal member for Cowper


Desmae Harrison from Bellingen Shire Council

Marie Rowe ~ Past President of the BNC, accepts a special presentation.


Marie is currently fighting her own personal battle with Cancer


Marie received a handmade woollen blanket from Rotary President Diane Christian

Live entertainment


Come Join Us and Make Your Cuppa Count

Join us for Bello’s Biggest Morning Tea”, on Monday 11th May, 9:30 to 12pm, at Maam Gaduying Park, Hyde Street Bellingen, along with Melinda Pavey, local member for Oxley, a representative for Luke Hartsuyker, member for Cowper, along with Mayor Mark Troy.