Vital new purpose for old Magpies home

For over a century, Victoria Park was the beating heart of arguably Australia's greatest sporting team, witnessing premiership celebrations, heartbreaking losses and more than its fair share of internal political intrigue.

Today a key part of the Collingwood Football Club's old home has been formally launched as a headspace centre, established to help young people in inner Melbourne deal with issues such as depression, anxiety and drug and alcohol problems.

Opened by the Federal Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, the Hon. Mark Butler, Collingwood headspace is set to become a major presence at the revamped Victoria Park site for years to come. The centre occupies the first floor of the former Bob Rose Social Club building, which housed the Collingwood Boardroom and iconic Social Club Bar.

"This site not only holds great historical significance, it's also the perfect spot for a headspace centre," said headspace Chair Wendy McCarthy AO.

"It's right beside a major railway line and very close to a multitude of bus and tram routes, making it easy for young people to access from points across the eastern and northern suburbs of Melbourne.

"And it is now the centre closest to central Melbourne, filling an important gap in our geographic coverage."

Ms McCarthy also acknowledged the good work of the Magpies in contributing $1 million directly toward the creation of headspace Collingwood, which will operate out of the newly-named Collingwood Football Club Community Centre.

"Collingwood's generous contribution has ensured that its former home will live on as a vital community facility and for that they should be congratulated."

The upgrade of the Bob Rose Social Club building is part of a $7.2 million revamp of Victoria Park that will see it become one of the best co-located community services centres in Australia. The redevelopment has been funded by the City of Yarra, the Victorian State Government and Collingwood Football Club Foundation.

The launch was attended by Magpies player Heath Shaw, Richmond player Dan Jackson and 'First Bloke' Tim Mathieson, the latter two attendees being headspace ambassadors.

Shaw said headspace Collingwood, and broader redevelopment, was a bricks-and-mortar testament to the Magpies' commitment to supporting the community.

"'The Collingwood Football Club is committed to treating everyone with respect and to welcoming all regardless of their status in society," Shaw said.

"The Club's dedication to upholding these values is shown through its work with organisations such as headspace and the community centre at Victoria Park."

Run on behalf of headspace by the Youth Advocacy and Support Service (YSAS), headspace Collingwood preserves much of the layout of the floor, including the Collingwood Boardroom made famous in the 1970s film The Club.

headspace CEO Chris Tanti said Collingwood was the 38th centre to officially open across Australia since the organisation's inception in 2006, with 90 centres due to be operational by 2015

"headspace has already proven to be very successful in ensuring that young people get help for small problems before they become big, debilitating ones," he said.

"We've helped nearly 65,000 young people so far and by 2015 we'll be seeing an estimated 72,000 people each year."

YSAS CEO Paul Bird said the Centre offered a range of services to young people in the area of mental health, general health, drug and alcohol services, education and employment and sexual health.

"YSAS is excited to be a part of this new headspace as lead agency. We are committed to working collaboratively with a range of service providers to share our expertise and ensure that collectively we achieve the best outcomes for young people.

"YSAS has expertise and experience in building rapport and relationships with young people, whatever issues they face. We always see the best in young people. This means YSAS is ideally-placed to offer holistic support to young people through headspace Collingwood."




Ben Hart
headspace Public Affairs Manager
Ph: 0407 445 551