On Saturday 8 May 2021, Co.As.It. Community Services celebrated the official opening of its third community centre, Amici House in Bracken Ridge. Two events took place including a VIP event with over 60 guests including The Hon. Grace Grace MP, Qld Minister for Education, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Racing; The Hon. Luke Howarth MP, Assistant Minister for Youth and Employment Services, Federal Member for Petrie and also representing Senator the Hon. Richard Colbeck and The Hon. Trevor Evans MP; Councillor Sandy Landers, Councillor for Bracken Ridge Ward representing Brisbane’s Lord Mayor; Councillor Tracy Davis, Councillor for McDowall Ward and Vice Consul Oreste Lastella, representing Her Excellency Francesca Tardioli and Italian Ambassador and Salvatore Napolitano, Italian Consul for Qld and NT.
The VIP event included a welcome speech by Cav. Nereo Brezzi, President of Co.As.It. Community Services, noting the organisation is going from strength to strength in catering to the needs of the community, with the centre being accessible to seniors and NDIS clients living in the Moreton Bay area covering Redcliffe and Caboolture communities. He acknowledged the work of Co.As.It. Treasurer, IT Manager Tony Brown, and CEO Dina Ranieri in making the centre a reality. The Hon. Grace Grace mentioned the “wonderful” centre itself which has a community cafè and large deck out the front, the service rooms for physio and podiatry, the beautiful auditorium allowing community members to come together. She acknowledged Co.As.It. for providing quality services for over 40 years assisting seniors, including her own mum and dad who benefitted when they were alive. The “Stay Active” room was described as a “terrific” space for seniors to exercise. The minister mentioned the importance of community and centres such as Amici House.
Local Bracken Ridge Councillor Sandy Launders said she was “really impressed” with the community centre and will look into using it for upcoming events. One of the features of the centre is a fully equipped catering kitchen made possible by the Gambling Community Benefit Fund that provided a grant and was represented by Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Alan Sparks, AM, BEM. Other amenities include a large outdoor patio, onsite parking, ramps for ease of access and beautifully landscaped gardens. VIPs were treated to generous chef-prepared canapès, peach bellinis, sponsored by Phil D’Aro from Ital’iquore, and cups of coffee from the Amici House Community Cafè.
In the afternoon, a Community Open Day welcomed over 100 visitors, including Co.As.It. staff, clients living in the local area, the local community and their families.
Greeted by a team of friendly volunteers who handed out show bags, drinks, and refreshments. The afternoon festivities included music by Nick Trovas, free coffees and time to sit and relax, enjoying the facilities and surrounds. Very special surprise guests were the two daughters of the person who built the original gospel chapel, Mr Albert Lawrence. Daughters Beth Merkus and Sue Lawrence-Duman attended the event, honouring their father’s effort who together with Mr Arthur Sweeney designed and built the church. They learned of the event after Beth’s daughter got a flyer in the local mail, calling her mother in relief and excitement knowing the church was to be given new life as a community centre.
On the day the Co.As.It. staff said our clients cannot wait to attend as soon as the social groups are scheduled, the centre will also provide NDIS workshops and social events. The opening of Amici House was a huge success.