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The North Ringwood Community Development Council was established in 1975 and met in the newly built Holy Spirit Parish Community Centre. As the original constitution states the main aim was to promote the development of a sense of community in the North Ringwood area.
In September a Community Development Officer was appointed with federal funds from the Australia Assistance Plan. Coordination funds continued through the 70’s & 80’s from Ringwood Council, Community Services Victoria (CSV) & the Division of Further Education (DFE). Programs established by the Development Council in these early days include:
The North Ringwood Playgroup Association
Migrant English Classes in association with the Adult Migrant Education Service
T. O. P. through Box Hill College of TAFE
IT & Business courses through Outer Eastern College of TAFE
The Learning Exchange – courses & activities in health, recreation, personal development, further education, job training & household management.
The Sole Parent Support Group
School Holiday Programs
Maroondah Toy Library
North Ringwood Red Cross Unit
The Friendly Visiting Service (visiting the lonely & housebound)
With so many groups growing in their own right, sharing the space with the Holy Spirit Parish became challenging. A house donated by the Milne/Dixon family was moved alongside the Community Centre, renovated by volunteers, and opened by the Lady Mayoress of Ringwood, Mrs Margaret Henderson in November 1975 as the “Community House”.
During 1980 an old storeroom next to the Community House was converted by volunteers for use as a crèche. The first crèche supervisor was employed in 1981. In 1984 this room was extended by staff and students of the Box Hill TAFE T.O.P. program and participants at the Blackburn Attendance Centre to include toilets, a babies’ area and a large craft room.
In February 1982 the name was officially changed to "North Ringwood Community House Incorporated" (NRCHI). NRCHI has always been managed by local community members, whose dedication continues to be a hallmark of the organisation today.
NRCHI has grown substantially over the years. In 2004, the VRQA granted the organisation RTO (Registered Training Organisation) status and in 2015, it was given Non-school Senior Secondary Provider status enabling the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) to be facilitated for ‘at risk’ young people in the community.
In 2015 the Community House relocated to the site of the former Parkwood Secondary College, 35-39 Tortice Drive Ringwood North and to this day shares the site with U3A, The Ringwood Men’s Shed and the Maroondah Toy Library.
In 2018, NRCHI experienced significant upheaval which threatened its existence as an RTO and organisation. Through sheer dedication, hard work and determination, staff rallied around to save the RTO and NRCHI from having to close its doors. Unfortunately, because of the upheaval, in 2018, the Committee of Governance decided that it could no longer resource the VCAL program. This resulted in NRCHI no longer having Non-school Senior Secondary provider status. They also chose to suspend their license to provide occasional childcare in the purpose built child care room. In 2019, after much deliberation and consideration the Committee of Governance decided to officially close the childcare centre. Subsequently NRCHI no longer holds an occasional childcare license.
NRCHI is the only community organisation in Maroondah registered to provide accredited training courses. NRCHI continues to offer leisure, lifestyle, pre accredited and accredited courses, led by CEO. Helen Ferguson and a small, but very dedicated team of part time staff, Board members and volunteers.
The organisation continues to financially recover from the upheavals experienced in (and before) 2018, reporting a surplus in both 2019 and 2020. We continue to strive to meet the everchanging needs of the community and pride ourselves on providing personalised services to all who enter our doors.