The local Muslim community hopes to raise $250,000 as it prepares for the first steps in the construction of the Bendigo Islamic Community Centre, which will incorporate the city’s first mosque.
An appeal has been made through social media, and fundraising events will be held locally and further afield to generate the needed funds.
Permit requirements mean work on the centre must begin by July 1.
Spokeswoman Aisha Neelam said the first steps would involve preparatory work to lay the foundations of the building.
Dr Neelam said the centre would be an amenity for the use and benefit of all members of the Bendigo community, not only the Muslim community.
“It will be open to all, a facility for everyone to be proud of,” fellow spokesperson Heri Febriyanto said.
The BICC will be built in three stages, with the first to include the prayer hall, the amenities building and external works.
The following stages will include classrooms, a library, a community courtyard, caretaker’s residence, sports hall, cafe and foyer.
It is estimated the project will cost about $5.5 million.
Dr Neelam said a completion date had not been set.
“We’d love for this to happen as soon as possible,” she said.
Earlier this year $150,000 was raised to support the construction of the BICC – three times the initial target set by the community.
The centre will be constructed in Rowena Street, East Bendigo.
For more information on the BICC or the fundraising appeal, visit the website.