Community spirit shines bright at Lowood’s Early Years Services

To city folk, country life looks tranquil and carefree – but raising a family in Queensland’s remote and rural towns can be tough.

As well as the threat of floods, drought, and bushfires to contend with, families often face feelings of isolation, and the absence of readily available support networks can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and lead to mental health challenges.

Fortunately, in Lowood, west of Brisbane, Mercy Community serves as a beacon of hope.

Since it began in 2016, Lowood Early Years Services has been a hub of activity, regularly bringing the community together with a range of initiatives designed to foster the well-being and development of children and families.

In 2021, facilities expanded with the launch of a second building at Peace Street (a welcome addition to the Railway St site) and in recent weeks, there has been another notable shift in services offered, reflecting a commitment to adapt to the evolving needs of the community.

The centre not only accommodates government services, including Centrelink facilities and a range of early years education programs, but it also hosts a variety of health and wellbeing services through the community centre.

Stacey Clayton, Lowood Early Years Services Team Manager, said the centre was enjoying a period of growth – with more to come.

“We’ve seen a lot of changes in what we deliver recently,” she said.

“In addition to the Centrelink services, we now offer plenty of early years programs, from playgroups and drop-in visits to allied health services and government-funded educational programs.

“We’re constantly looking for ways to better support our community. We’re exploring the possibility of introducing yoga classes and other wellness activities in the future.

“For us, it’s about being able to give back to a community that faces more challenges than most.

“By providing a space for their little people to develop and learn and a meeting place for them to come together as a community, we are able to support them so that they can overcome their challenges together.

“As a centre, we pride ourselves on our inclusive approach, ensuring that all members of the community feel welcome and supported.”

Moreover, the centre has been instrumental in addressing the specific needs of families who need a helping hand.

One of its standout initiatives is the community pantry, which provides essential food items to those in need.

“Thanks to donations from local residents and businesses like Drakes, we’ve been able to establish this service that is available to anyone facing food insecurity,” said Stacey.

“Our focus is on supporting families who may face barriers to accessing childcare or other essential services.

“Through our family support programs, we aim to provide tailored assistance to those who need it most.”

The success of the centre is not only a result of its diverse range of programs, but also to the strong sense of community that permeates its walls.

“It’s heartwarming to see the community come together in times of need,” said Stacey.

“Despite facing challenges like floods and droughts, we all look out for each other, and as a centre we’re proud to be a part of that.”

As the landscape of community support continues to evolve, centres such as Lowood Early Years Services serve as beacons of hope, providing invaluable assistance and fostering a sense of belonging for all who seek it.

Through collaboration and dedication, they exemplify the power of community-driven initiatives in creating positive change.

Looking ahead, Lowood Early Years Services is poised for further development, with plans to revamp its space.

“We’re grateful for the ongoing support from the Department of Education and the local community,” said Stacey.

“Together, we’re working to create a brighter future for the children and families of Lowood.”

Mercy Community Lowood is now on Instagram!

@mercycommunitylowood

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