One with the community

Gabrielle Higgins, community house coordinator said the people make it special. 233666_03

Cockatoo Community House is open to everyone for nearly every activity and workshop under the sun.

Volunteers and staff are also there to help link people to services and supports, including youth and family counselling, when needed.

The community house offers a mixture of free and fee-paying classes and workshops, with upcoming classes including sourdough bread making, kombucha, ancient weaving, sound healing and an introduction to permaculture.

On 27 April, Cockatoo Community House will be hosting free workshops and lunch for carers.

The day will kick off with a free lunch, an information session on supports available for carers and a caring for yourself workshop.

Since receiving the Supporting Carers Locally grant, the Cockatoo Community House is able to offer wellbeing activities such as sound relaxation and free haircuts to local carers.

Over lunch on Wednesdays, the Women’s Friendship Café will focus on sustainability and the Cockatoo Women’s Business Network are hosting informal work and network sessions.

And those that are only free after hours can drop in for a Saturday game of chess or join an evening rock and roll or ballroom and Latin dance class.

Cockatoo Community House coordinator Gabby Higgins said the space is just right, not too big, not too small but the thing that makes it great is the people.

“The people are what makes Cockatoo Community House special – the down-to-earth teachers, friendly facilitators and staff who make time to listen,” she said.

Originally known as Cockatoo Neighbourhood House, it has a long history of supporting the community, opening in the early 1980s after the Ash Wednesday bushfires.

Since then it has seen some changes, including a name change in 2019.

Ms Higgins said the community house is pleased many of the groups that had been running for a number of years have been able to re-establish themselves.

“And if there’s something not on offer people are welcome to talk to us about it,” she said.

As part of both Neighbourhood Houses Victoria and TaskForce Community Agency, Cockatoo Community House is grounded by contributing to diversity and gender equality and offering support and compassion.

Cockatoo Community House takes on the mantra of TaskForce that focuses on ‘giving life changing opportunities for those most in need.’

Cockatoo Community House is located at 23 Bailey Rd, Cockatoo Vic 3781 and is open at various times throughout the week depending on classes.

Office hours, however, are generally Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4pm.

To keep up to date with all the new activities on offer, sign up to receive the e-newsletter at, send an email to or call 5968 9031 to find out more.