When Marsden Community Hub Leader Penny Dearlove presented the CEO of Community Hubs Australia with the Floral Emblem of Logan – and quotes from the women who attend her English class – it capped off what was an incredible conference.

The gesture was a touching way to end the National Community Hub conference, held in Melbourne in October, and a reminder of why these programs are so critical.

Queensland Community Hubs have long been a lifeline for the many culturally and linguistically diverse families who frequent them.

The Hubs, facilitated by Access, offer services and support, learning opportunities, and a place to foster friendships and strengthen wellbeing.

The conference celebrated the achievements of the Hubs to date.

Of particular note, was the Ipswich Community Hub team who presented on the importance of partnerships and the work they have done with the Zonta Club of Ipswich – an organisation committed to empowering and advancing the status of women.

“Partnerships with like-minded organisations within the community are very important to us – the further we expand, the further our reach goes,” said Tristan Crisante, Community Hub English Teacher from Staines Community Hub in Ipswich.

“We teach everything here from everyday vocabulary, to listening and speaking skills. We play games too - as much as we take our lessons very seriously, we also make sure we are here to have fun.

“My favourite thing to see in class is to watch people, who may arrive shy and with no confidence, flourish by the end of a week or even by the end of a lesson, coming out of their shells and talking and laughing,” said Tristan.

The Hubs foster cross-cultural connection that many would otherwise miss out on - and critically - the opportunity to learn in a safe and welcoming space.

“We have students from all over the world, at all different levels of English and literacy, and the one thing that our students have in common, regardless of age, culture or religion, is that they come with a strong desire to learn, to have fun, and to share their culture with others.

“These Hubs are so important and I want to thank all those who make these Hubs a place of learning and laughter. Thank you to students on placement, everyone from Zonta and our Hub leader.

“If there was a message I had for my students – it’s to say thank you so much, I am inspired and impressed by you every day.”

The Community Hubs will continue in 2020 with brand new activities and programs coming in the New Year.