A UNITING Church building circa 1900 in Quarry Hill, Bendigo, has a new lease on life.
What is now known as The Old Church on the Hill, once held hundreds of church services, weddings and funerals.
The building now sees people from every corner of the community unite to enjoy life in partnership.
Five years ago, a group of community-minded people gathered their resources and bought the church buildings.
The church grounds consist of the original church building built on November 5, 1900, the Sunday school hall opposite and the newer church hall behind older buildings.
Rosita and Andrew Vincent manage them.
Mrs Vincent is passionate about bringing back neighbourly relationships to the community.
The evolution of the Old Church on the Hill began when Mrs Vincent's community garden outgrew the local cafe where it was situated.
The Uniting church allowed her to move the garden to the church grounds.
"Once it looked like the property was about to sell the whole community started getting involved," Mrs Vincent said.
"Some of the university students made a video requesting we let the building stay as part of the community."
The buildings were then bought off the Uniting church after the congregation stopped meeting.
"I used to work for this company, they are very generous and they wanted us to use it for as long as we want to," Mrs Vincent said.
She said the community's financial support since then had demonstrated their desire for a communal area.
"Bendigo Blues and Roots Festival, the sustainability group, Bendigo Farmer's Market and the local Afghani community are involved in the space," she said.
"It has been great for providing a space for the community to hang out and connect.
"That is what makes Bendigo a great place to live."
The building is used for community activities designed to bring people together.
The centre hosts playgroup, french language class, live music, martial arts class, yoga, break-dancing class, art therapy, a positive birthing group, a pop-up op-shop
The community garden has developed into a meeting place for families needing some guidance on gardening or some university students without enough money for vegetables.
"A lot of people have their own gardens at home, so when they come to the community garden they are there for the sake of community," she said.
"It's been a great way to provide fresh food to people who need it.
"We have taught young families who want their children to learn about gardening."
Mrs Vincent said it was a great place to meet new people.
She said the central idea of the centre was to encourage people to enjoy the normal things of life with new people.
"Anything that is to do with celebrating what it means to be human," she said.
The community centre's next step is to develop the Sunday school hall into a commercial grade kitchen and eating area.
The centre actively fundraises to help the renovations come to fruition.
"We had a Spring Fair last year and we raised $11,000 for the community kitchen," Mrs Vincent said.
"We hope to raise some more at this year's Spring Fair on October 18."
The Spring Fair this year will be held at the centre and will include a market with craft stalls, gardening stall, cake stall along with the pop-up op shop.
Mrs Vincent said a lot of people believed in the idea of a community centre.
She said the centre was meeting an obvious need in the community.
The centre's Facebook group has more than 450 members supporting it's cause.
"People are looking for a community, a place to belong," she said.
She said it helped people connect and feel at home in Bendigo.
Mrs Vincent said the centre was not a hall for hire but more about a joining of community groups.
"We are just one group wanting to partner with other community groups," she said.
"It has been a way we can keep the space what we want it to be."
The centre will host musician Josh Owen on Sunday, for more information visit their Facebook page.
For more on this story, visit www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au
To get in touch with the Old Church on the Hill visit them at the corner of Harkness and Russell streets in Quarry Hill.
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