Shoalhaven Neighbourhood Services was initially established as the Shoalhaven Information and Aid Centre and commenced operation in early 1977 from a Council Cottage at 7 Collins Way, Nowra. The first Annual General Meeting was held on the 1st December, 1977.
Volunteer Training Courses commenced in February, 1978.
In November 1979 an application for an increase in funding was submitted to the Department of Youth and Community Services, under the Neighbourhood Centres Program. The first Co-ordinator of the Centre was employed in 1980 for 15 hours per week. The hours of the worker gradually increased to 25 by the end of 1989.
In 1982 the name of the service was changed to the Shoalhaven Neighbourhood Centre and relocated in 1983 to its present location at 134 Kinghorne Street, Nowra. The paid position at the centre was changed from Co-ordinator to Community Development Worker in 1984 in response to a change in funding emphasis.
On 24th November, 1986 the Shoalhaven Neighbourhood Centre became an incorporated body under the Associations Incorporations Act, 1984.
Many past and present Community Organisations had their beginnings with the Shoalhaven Neighbourhood Services. These include Women’s Resource Group, Werninck Craft Cottage, Friendly Visiting Service, Shoalhaven Community Transport, Nowra Family Support Service, After School Care, The Shoalhaven Youth Centre, Helping Early Leavers Program, Domestic Violence Support Service, Shoalhaven Neighbourhood Centre Outreach Worker, Men in Contact Project and the Nowra Women’s Domestic Violence Court Assistance Scheme.
The Centre also provides a venue in which various community groups hold their meetings. It also provides access for individuals to a number of services operating from the Centre.
The Neighbourhood Centre has been supported by a loyal band of Volunteers since inception. They have done and still do keep the Centre open on a daily basis by answering all enquiries, making referrals, and carrying out administrative support duties. They are the public’s first point of contact with the service.
Historically, funding has not kept pace with CPI increases despite regular submissions for increases in funding. The Administrators hours have gradually been reducing, over the years, to the current 21.5 hours per week.
In 1996, a Bookkeeper was employed to assist in the financial operation of the Shoalhaven Neighbourhood Centre Incorporated and the various projects operating under its auspice.
The East Nowra Neighbourhood Centre Project began in 1991 when the Shoalhaven Neighbourhood Services Incorporated assumed responsibility for the East Nowra Community Cottage which had been operating under the name of Worrigee Tenants Association since July 1988 at 15 Supply Street, East Nowra. The cottage was funded through the Illawarra Area Assistance Scheme and had the support of the Department of Housing. An Outreach Worker was appointed by the Management Committee of the Shoalhaven Neighbourhood Services Incorporated to run the cottage catering to the residents of the East Nowra area. In 1998 Shoalhaven City Council constructed a purpose/built cottage at 80 Park Road, East Nowra which became the East Nowra Neighbourhood Centre. In October 1998 with construction complete the workers position was renamed as the East Nowra Neighbourhood Centre Co-ordinator.
The Nowra Neighbour Aid Project, based at the Nowra Neighbourhood Centre began in December 2002. A Co-ordinator was employed to operate the program with the assistance of volunteers. Further funding became available in 2005 to employ 2 Social Support workers, with a further Social Support worker being employed in 2007 and 2008
In Otober 2010, Shoalhaven Neighbourhood Centre changed its Incorporated name to Shoalhaven Neighbourhood Services. This decision was made because the organisation was not operating one centre, it had (and still has) three funded projects being Nowra Neighbourhood Centre, East Nowra Neighbourhood Centre and Nowra Neighbour Aid .
A history booklet of Shoalhaven Neighbourhood Services is available. Please contact us to receive a copy.