Romsey’s new hub

Preparing for the co-op's launch are Romsey Neighbourhood House coordinator Michelle Balthazar, John Bamford, Dianne Borracci, Laurie Sklifas, Judith McKay, Beth Hipworth and Signy Connell.

Macedon Ranges makers and producers will have a new platform to connect with the community as the Romsey Community Co-op prepares to launch in November.
The multi-faceted community hub aims to provide opportunities for local creators to generate a source of income and also support a community garden and food share service.
It is a Romsey Neighbourhood House initiative three years in the making and volunteers last week celebrated a newly secured space to transform at 126 Main Street.
RNH coordinator Michelle Balthazar said it was exciting to approach launch day with so much interest and encouragement from local residents.
“The whole concept is to create a multi-faceted space as a community-run social enterprise where it’s all about the community benefiting,” she said.
“From running a food-bank service, Neighbourhood House volunteers were seeing such an increasing need for people to generate an alternative source of income.”
Romsey crafter Laurie Sklifas is just one of about 50 makers expected to take up the opportunity of an affordable space to showcase her wares.
“This initiative is something that I have always aspired to be part of. I always make things but I have never been able to find a successful way to sell them. Now it’s all happening and I feel really excited,” she said.
The space will also support a healthy community garden and community food-share service where community members can bring along excess produce and donate or exchange it.
Produce will be used to create low-cost pre-cooked meals. A commercial community kitchen will be functioning from the site for hire and use to assist producers.
A hairdresser will also be offering services from the site including special days of discount cuts.
Ms Balthazar said all concepts were welcomed and the space would be shaped by the community’s aspirations.
“One thing that COVID has highlighted is the need to start these support initiatives and set them up for the long-term,” Ms Balthazar said.
“If we can encourage people to shop locally that’s when we have a good impact on our local economy and keep people in jobs. We really want to support everyone. We know it’s been such a difficult time for anyone trying to run a business.”
Ms Balthazar said the space had been enabled by grants and generous support from the community including local tradies donating their time and many putting their hand up to volunteer with the set-up and function of the space.
For details, contact Romsey Neighbourhood House on 5429 6724 to learn how to submit an application. Volunteers and donations are also welcomed.