A TASTE OF RCLC – December

Welcome to our final ‘A Taste of RCLC’ for 2019.


This month we take a look the Cheeky Chook Crew, a willing band of local volunteers who care for the hens living at Burnley Backyard. Individuals, families and community groups visit the chooks on a rotating roster to see if any eggs have been laid, clean out the chook shed and leave food and clean water. It’s a great experience for adults and especially children, who get to learn that eggs don’t just come from the supermarket shelf. As well as caring for the chooks, it’s very relaxing to just sit and watch them as well as giving them a gentle cuddle from time to time. In the words of crew-member Cate, who looks in on the chooks one evening every week, ‘I love talking to the chooks and hearing them cluck right back at me. If they are lucky I might tell them a story or two!’


Cate has been involved with the program for approximately a year, and really looks forward to visiting every week as an opportunity to be a part of and give back to, her local community. She also enjoys being able to experience nature while living in an urban environment. One of her activities during a session with the chooks is to clean the enclosure of food scraps to keep any unwanted night-time pests away. Being with the chooks also provides Cate with fond memories of her childhood when urban backyard chooks were popular and were kept by a few of her neighbours in Kew.

One of the community groups involved with the Cheeky Chook Crew is Bridge Road Early Learning Centre, a long day-care service that also runs a government-funded kindergarten program. They have been a part of the crew for a couple of months, and began this partnership in order to provide the children with an opportunity to engage with the local community. The visits to Burnley Backyard also complement their educational activities by teaching the children how to care for the environment and by demonstrating a way in which they can contribute to a sustainable future

Cheeky Chook Crew

Nikkita, who is the Kindergarten teacher at the Centre explains how the children’s involvement in this program also aims to teach them to take responsibility and care for the chickens by feeding them, replacing their water and tidying their home. It also helps to develop the children’s awareness and appreciation about where food comes from, by collecting the eggs and cooking healthy meals with the organic fresh produce.

So, thank you Cate, Nikkita and all of our fabulous Cheeky Chook Crew for helping to maintain a program which provides several community benefits and some valuable educational opportunities. Cate assures us that the name is a well-deserved one as not only are some of the crew cheeky 😀, the chooks are as well. When she opens the gate, a couple will often try to escape in order to sample some of the other delights Burnley and Richmond have to offer…

If you would like to join our Cheeky Chook Crew, please contact Oren, our Community and Programs Officer on facility@rclc.org.au, 9428 9901


A TASTE OF RCLC – November

This month, we would like to focus on BYO Bubs Playgroup which is held every Monday of the school term at The Cubby House, a fun and welcoming home right on your doorstep, in Lord Street. There you will find great outdoor spaces to run and play, toys, activities, and other parents to talk to.    sunshine!

Allow us to introduce Cathy Boyce who is the BYO Bubs Program Coordinator:

Cathy began attending playgroup fourteen years ago with her son when it was originally located at the Burnley Backyard. As her son grew, she remained connected to Richmond Community Learning Centre as a member of the Committee and then later by working as a temporary staff member in the Occasional Care Program. Due to changing demographics in Richmond, the playgroup dwindled to one or two children at the most and the program folded. Cathy remained with RCLC then, taking on the role of Community Development Officer at the beginning of 2016 (defined by Cathy as-‘juggling lots of balls and doing whatever needs doing over the three sites we have now!’).

Cathy describes being a trainer of beginners in IT on Monday mornings, when the phone started ringing with parents asking whether the Centre had a Playgroup. Her response was, ‘Well of course we do!’ And BYO Bubs was off and running. To start with, they had a core group of five-six families, keen for some space to run, other parents to talk to and perhaps even the chance to have a coffee and finish a sentence with a grown up…

There are now over thirty families that attend the playgroup: some regularly and some whenever nap times and life works out (and some with nannies in tow). Cathy would like to think that playgroup is as much for parents as it is for the children. In her own words, ‘Parenting can be a lonely business sometimes and the opportunity to meet new people, talk to that mum you always see but have never actually met, get advice and feel like a human for a little while, is much needed.’

As a Richmond local, she appreciates that very few of us have backyards and room to run free, so the large outdoor space is utilised as much as possible with swings, sandpit, climbing frames, a cubby to work on with tools, cars to ride and bubbles to chase. A snack time is shared, sometimes they cook, dance, make sand cupcakes or push prams.  It is always a time though, for children to freely move between activities and join in when they want to, or do the same activity for the whole hour and a half! margo and maxie

As far as her own participation goes, Cathy says, ‘As a local, I find it lovely to be out at the shops, or park etc. and get some shy smiles or loud hellos from the precious faces I see on Monday mornings. Mondays are definitely my fun part of the working week before I have to ‘adult’ and get back into an office!’


Some parental perspectives…

As a mother, Sophie Moore finds BYO Bubs a valuable part of her life. This is how she describes her experience: ‘My three year old loves the role-play, building, constructing, riding cars and pushing prams. Group morning-tea is a highlight too. I have made wonderful friends who provide loads of support. Big thumbs up to Cath. Would be lost without Monday morning playgroup.’

Sarah McKenzie has been attending the group for two years. She is a busy mum of two, a wife and an artist and also works for a construction company. One of the attractions of living in Richmond for her is that virtually everything the family needs (including her work and art studio) is within walking distance. She describes the quality of life here in Richmond as great as she can watch her children grow up alongside other neighbourhood kids as they play, create together and form their identity in this nurturing community. Other local organisations and activities which Sarah values are St Bartholomew’s Church, the local primary schools, kinders and street picnics and barbecues. snack

Sarah has helped out with some of the craft activities at BYO Bubs and sometimes treats the children to face-painting. She has mentioned a key benefit of playgroup being coming across parents and children with different opinions on life. She finds it particularly encouraging to see different viewpoints respected as the parents share a hot cuppa while the children play together in the sandpit. Sarah credits the activities run by Cathy, RCLC and Burnley Backyard with helping to stimulate positive community relationships.

To all the staff and participants involved in BYO Bubs, we extend a huge thank-you from the Richmond community. You are providing a much-needed welcoming, supportive and educational environment for future generations and their parents.

The Cubby House offers a range of activities, programs and educational opportunities aimed to support families and their children.

These include:

  • occasional childcare
  • 3+ learning program
  • Parents groups
  • Parenting information evenings
  • Outdoor Playgroups
  • Facilities and Spaces to hire (Great for birthday parties!)
  • and other family orientated activities



Welcome to October at A Taste of Richmond Community Learning Centre.

This month we would like to introduce three of our volunteers, all of whom are involved with our Repair, Mend and Make free sessions, held on the last Sunday of the month at Burnley Backyard in Tudor Street, Richmond. The aim of this program is to promote sustainability and minimize waste by having volunteers help people to fix such household items as clothing, appliances and furniture.


If you attend one of our sessions, you will more than likely be greeted by Brigitte who will have opened up and made the space ready for the volunteers and attendees. She will then match you and your item to a suitable fixer. She is enjoying the experience of meeting new people at Repair, Mend and Make having re-located to Richmond about eighteen months ago. Brigitte describes her participation as providing ‘a package deal’ of a sense of belonging to a group with shared values and the satisfaction of seeing people learning to repair loved items.

Tim, who previously worked in the field of technical research at CSIRO, has been with this program since its inception in November 2017. His skills allow him to fix a range of items and if you have an electrical appliance in need of repair, Brigitte will have no hesitation in directing you to Tim. Being a relatively new Richmond resident, Tim is also relishing the companionship the program provides, and being someone who has always liked repairing and building things, he enjoys passing on these skills to others.


If you have clothes you would like to mend, then you will be steered in the direction of Helen who like Tim, has been with the program from the start. She is a retired school teacher who taught clothing and textile design at senior levels so you would be in very capable hands! Helen enjoys helping people to learn how to mend their clothes or homewares themselves and can assist with trouble-shooting problematic sewing machines. She has been a Richmond resident for twelve years.


A big RCLC thank you to all the terrific volunteers involved with the Repair Corner as well as to our people in focus, Brigitte, Helen and Tim. If you would like to become a volunteer fixer for Repair, Mend and Make or are interested in attending a session, you can find out more on our website on our Facebook page or by calling the Centre on 9428 9901.

IMG_7805 - Copy

Our next repair session will be held on Sunday, 28th of October from 10am to 12pm, details here.




A TASTE OF RCLC – September

Welcome to the Richmond Community Learning Centre monthly blog. Here you will read about some of the people and activities that make up our community.

Our ‘Person in Focus’ for September is Richard who runs our popular weekly Technology Confidence Class. This relaxed and welcoming group which meets every Monday morning at the Studio 1 Community Hub, is aimed at intermediate users of all ages and from all walks of life. It is also suited to job seekers and provides participants with great tips on how to use and understand their computers, smart phones and tablets.

Richard has been teaching in this field for almost nineteen years and is passionate about showing his students how to like their digital devices and discover all the wonderful things they can do with them including apps from photo management to Facebook. He finds that being able to fulfill his childhood ambition to teach, along with the fact that many of his students have become his friends (as well as friends with each other) has made his experiences, in his own words, ‘a journey of discovery and self-development: without needing a passport!’.

If you would like to know more about our Technology Confidence Class, please click on this link or call us on 03 9428 9901.