.

By Derek Schlennstedt

An emergency relief centre is just as its name suggests – a place established to provide support and essential needs to persons affected by an emergency.

Though, for the Dandenong Ranges Emergency Service Group, servicing the community has become more difficult.

As the need increases across the area, so, too, has the difficulty in supporting the community from an aging and cramped building.

Now, 20 years after moving into their little ramshackle cramped space next to the Cameo, DRERS has now relocated to the lower section of the Belgrave Community Hub and have the space to flourish.

Frank Watson, President of DRERS, reflected on the 20 years of community work and how much it’s grown.

“I was thinking on the way up here that it all started from a second hand freezer in the workshop under my house, to now a million dollar building … that’s not a bad step,” he said.

“We’re all so pleased to be in this place … it’s a whole different atmosphere, to look at a place like this with the rooms we have, the facilities we have, what more could we ask for and we have the support of the council to thank for that.”

DRERS offers support to people who are homeless and disadvantaged.

That support comes in the form of food, food vouchers, payment of prescriptions, clothing vouchers, and assistance with paying bills, advocacy, referrals and crisis counselling.

Unfortunately, the need for support in various ways has increased in recent years and Tania Bevan, manager at DRERS, said in their previous location there just wasn’t any “room to grow”.

“It’s light and bright and it’s really exciting to be here… we do miss our little old building however this is so much better,” she said.

“Hopefully, we can keep doing what we’ve been doing for the last 20 years but even better; it’s more comfortable for us to work in and more comfortable for people to access our service now.

“It makes all the jobs we do easier … we can all work together more closely and make those internal referrals too, if someone comes in for emergency relief and they have eaten for a while we can make them a breakfast to give them a meal straight-away.”

With a kitchen, large spacious lunch area, numerous offices, showers and two referral offices, the space is a vast improvement on their previous location.

“It’s a really good place for people to come along and have a meal and feel connected with their community, and of course if they need to access the other services in the building it’s all in the one place now which is really good,” Ms Bevan said.

Yarra Ranges councillor, Mike Clarke, who opened the hub on 21 April, said the new building was a welcome replacement for the ageing, substandard previous accommodation.

DRERS is open Monday to Friday 9am-12:30pm at the Belgrave Community Hub.

Comments are closed.

More News

Aussie comedian Kevin Bloody Wilson is bringing his tongue-in-cheek politically incorrect tour to the York on Lilydale. He will continue ...

Yarra Ranges councillors have voted to delay the demolition of the former Montrose Maternal Child Health Centre. At the Yarra ...

 Sheppard is bringing a fun, energy-filled show to Mount Evelyn. The Brisbane-based band will play the York on Lilydale ...

 Put on your beanie and start your bushfire preparations – the season is set to arrive early. CFA chief ...

Ferny Creek Primary School principal Matthew Coyle is celebrating four decades in teaching. The passionate educator began his career in ...

 Firefighters are explaining new burning off laws to Yarra Ranges residents getting it wrong. The council finalised the Open ...

Latest Sport

 Upwey’s Cameron Wheeler has made the Victorian Country Cricket League Team of the Year for the second ...

The Upwey-Tecoma Bowling Club members are looking forward to the completion of their new synthetic second green. Replacement of the ...