Construction has begun on the Victorian Pride Centre, Australia’s first pride centre—a beacon of pride, diversity and inclusion.
“In construction language we have bottomed out, but in a good way,’ Stacey Halls, Coordinator of the Pride Centre, tells us.
“It means we have reached a significant milestone, where construction works are now all above ground. From this point on we’ll see the building take shape with the pouring of the basement slab and ground floor.”
The only way is up, with passers by being able to see the building emerge above street level from early next year.
“There is something uniquely satisfying about being able to tangibly see the fruits of our communities’ labour and commitment to a vision for our future,” Halls says.
“The Board, staff, volunteers, organisations, individuals and broader community have all played a significant part and should feel very proud of how far we have come in realising what will be the world’s second largest LGBTIQ pride centre.”
Pride Centre Deputy Board Chair Stuart Kollmorgen was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the LGBTIQ community and sporting organisations, but as the architect of the Pride Centre’s Founders Fund which allows individuals and organisations to own a stake in the Centre and share in its success, it’s not a medal that fills him with pride.
“If you asked me what I would prefer—the award, or to get the things done in the community that we set out to achieve—it would be to get things done. There is so much more we can do. For the first time, our LGBTIQ community will own land, operate a Pride Centre, and control our destiny.” he said.
Image : Victorian Pride Centre renders, supplied
In colaboration with Lifeview, the only private provider of aged care in Australia to be Rainbow Tick accredited, the Victorian Pride Centre has put a spotlight on the needs of older LGBTIQ Victorians by establishing a Foundation Partnership.
The three-year partnership will see Lifeview contribute funds in addition to essential resources for older LGBTIQ people, providing educational resources related to aged care, run open days and bi-monthly events on ageing, and collaborate with existing LGBTIQ groups to establish a specialist Dementia Café (support program) for those living with dementia and their chosen family at the Pride Centre.
“The Victorian Pride Centre will lead the way in bringing resources and knowledge together for the LGBTIQ community and we are pleased to be able to add our expertise in aged care services and support to this,” Lifeview CEO Madeline Gall said.
“We take our responsibility to assist and care for older LGBTIQ Victorians very seriously. Through this partnership we hope to break down barriers to care and assist those who need it to receive the support they require and deserve,” she added.
Image : VPC Acting Chair Stuart Kollmorgen and Lifeview CEO Madeline Gall, sign partnership agreement
It’s not just the buildings foundations that are growing, with leasing negations with key resident organisations underway.
“Like any lease agreements we are working through all the particulars and individual requirements of each of the organisations,” Halls told the Star Observer.
“We’ve been fortunate to receive pro bono support from Cushman & Wakefield who recently released the EOI process for our commercial food and beverage spaces including the ground floor café and licensed rooftop space, the perfect space for a wedding or two.”
With the City of Stonnington’s Mayoral Charity Fundraiser ‘Night of Pride’ raising funds for the Pride Centre Theatrette, the diverse support for creating a truly inclusive and diverse space for our communities is really exciting.
“Stonnington Council’s decision to support the Pride Centre in establishing a welcoming and safe home for both Stonnington residents and the broader community should be congratulated,” said Halls.
“The Gala is an example of how the Pride Centre’s impact will reach well beyond its local physical boundaries. It is heartening to receive such support which acknowledges the important role the Pride Centre will play in our diverse communities and in continuing to activate and provide access to queer art, voices and culture through the establishment of the ground floor theatre.”
Image : Victorian Pride Centre renders, supplied
It won’t be long until the vison of Victoria’s Pride Centre is here for us all to enjoy. But while construction workers focus on the walls, the Pride Centre’s new Programming and Activation Committee have started focusing on what sits within them.
“They are working on curation of the ground floor gallery,” Halls added, “which will host exhibitions, events and art collections by and for our community. It is vital that the Pride Centre is a vibrant place of celebration that brings people together and we look forward to working with the community to make this a reality over the coming year.”
You can get regular updates on the Victorian Pride Centre progress here.