The Official Opening of the Backyard

The preparation and planning for the “Backyard” and “Fitness and Wellbeing Centre” kicked off in October 2013 when we identified a need to redesign and repurpose a number of common areas at Brisbane Common Ground.

We engaged Sonia Kirby from Establish Consulting to facilitate a series of tenant forums to explore better ways to use an empty 20m2 building fronting Fleet Lane and a lawn covered greenspace at the rear of the building.

The forums delivered a number of options which were presented to the tenant community in the form of a preferences survey.

42 tenants gave us their feedback with the majority in favour of converting the empty building into a “Fitness and Wellbeing Centre” and upgrading the greenspace area to include undercover seating and garden beds.

Since those early days we have been proactive in sourcing the funds needed to bring these projects to life. In July 2014 we were fortunate to secure a Queensland Government Community Benefit Fund grant to resource the “Backyard” project. A second round of good news came in late 2014 when Common Ground Queensland ex-Board member, Phil Heraghty and his wife Rose, made a generous donation which enabled us to complete the renovations of the “Fitness and Wellbeing Centre” and to purchase some exercise equipment. The final piece of good news came in mid-2015 when we successfully obtained a SUEZ Community Grant to purchase additional fitness and training aides for the “Fitness and Wellbeing Centre”.

We especially thank Kevin Hayes a locally based architect from Hayes Anderson Lynch Architects for his probono design of an undercover seating area in the “Backyard” which is functional, pleasing to the eye and complementary of the existing architecture. Our appreciation also extends to Chris Mahoney from Verde Design Group who provided the probono Landscape Concept Plan which influenced our final design.

We would also like to thank the following funders and sponsors for their contributions along the way:

  • Tenants of Brisbane Common Ground for participation in the planning forums and design outcomes;
  • Brisbane Common Ground tenants; Newton Reweti, Lam Lam and Chris Healy for their construction and landscaping volunteer contribution in the “Backyard”;
  • Mitre 10 Lewis Bros South Brisbane - donation of paint for the “Fitness and Wellbeing Centre”;
  • Stowe Electrical - probono supply and installation of electrical fittings for the “Fitness and Wellbeing Centre”; and
  • Grocon - probono construction of the deck for the “Backyard”.

Moving forward, we are excited to work with partners Rise Industries and Griffith University as we progress to the operational phase of the “Fitness and Wellbeing Centre”. David Hodge from Rise Industries will coordinate personalised and group fitness services to Brisbane Common Ground tenants as well as the broader community. Rise Industries will also work with Griffith University to coordinate a pilot project which will increase our understanding of the positive impacts of healthy living and exercise on wellbeing and social connectedness.

It has truly been an exciting journey of imagination, collaboration and determination and it was wonderful to celebrate this success with our tenants and the community during the official opening ceremony conducted by the Honourable Jackie Trad MP on the 14th of August 2015.

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