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Our Story

A spontaneous start

We began as the Tableland Neighbourhood and Information Centre (TNIC), a genuine grassroots community response to the need for an information, advice and referral centre in July 1986. 

At our inaugural historic inaugural meeting, an interim committee was formed to “bring community groups together and to distribute information relevant to people’s needs.”

President Anne Atkinson described it simply as a “means of helping others; a catalyst linking people and existing organisations.”

With 40 to 45 enthusiastic members, we began life with a roster of volunteers manning an office in the Atherton Community Centre for four days a week, 10am to 4pm.

TNIC incorporated in 1987 and we employed our first employee to begin putting together what would become the basis of Better Together’s network of services, referrals and links. 

By 1988, we had a casual employee – a social worker – funded by the then-Department of Family & Youth Services.

Just a year later, we were able to fund that position into a full-time social worker role.

We moved from the Atherton Neighbourhood Centre into its own premises at 38 Mabel St in 1989.

The neighbourhood centre played a pivotal role in our development; counselling services, both outreach and in-house began here.

TNIC successfully lobbied for further funding from the Department for more social workers and counsellors.

It became a real hub for community activity: the Atherton Neighbourhood Watch group began here.

Training programs for volunteers were delivered and we successfully and proudly mentored other community groups from formation to fruition.

In the background, our volunteers continued to successfully refer and link individuals and families to services and groups across the Tablelands.

We grew rapidly, delivering the many programs that are familiar today from the Mabel St neighbourhood centre.

These include family counselling, community welfare services such as emergency relief and maintenance and modifications programs for seniors and the disabled. 

One of our most enduring and popular community programs, the Community Bus, began in 2008, providing a door-to-door transport service for the aged, disabled and frail-aged.

To the people of the Tablelands I would suggest that the centre has much to offer our local society.  On the other hand, if you feel the centre has nothing to offer you, then it may be time to consider what you have to offer it!

Geoff Harpur

Tablelander newspaper, may 26, 1987

I'd love to be part of Better Together

Are you curious about Better Together and what we do? Whether you’d love to play an active part in making the Atherton Tablelands a better place or simply contribute to what we do in other ways, we’re happy to have a chat.

A new era of professionalism

TNIC became Community Services Tablelands (CST) in 2008 to better reflect the breadth and professionalism of our services.

Our staff included accredited psychologists, experienced social workers and volunteers who brought with them high-level banking, accounting experience and financial credentials.

They all had one thing in common: a commitment to increasing the resilience and connectedness of the Tablelands community.

By this time, we had become an established and trusted supplier of government services to both Commonwealth and Queensland State departments.

Our services were diverse; from family counselling and intervention services to programs targeted at the elderly to enhance their abilities to live independently, to alcohol and other drugs counselling and diversion programs. 

We also added more services for young people.

Our volunteers, always the backbone of the centre, continue to deliver invaluable community services.

Our Community Bus, for example, kept going from strength to strength, providing bus runs three times a week, including a purely fun and joyous ‘social run’, to transporting people to Cairns and back while also doing ‘town runs’ that helped with shopping and medical appointments.

 

In 2014, we consolidated premises to move into our current premises at 1 Main St.

 

At this time, we realised that it was time to dream a little bigger: to build a service that would really service the needs of a growing Tablelands community. 

Working hand-in-hand with local, state and Commonwealth governments, we’ve managed to secure a wonderful site in Atherton where we can be part of the “heart” of the Tablelands. Plans have been drawn up while funding is being secured.

 

As an organisation, we also decided to move to the next phase of our evolution…

 

Better Together Community Support (2020)

We became Better Together Community Support in 2020.

We recognise, as a Tablelands community group, that out work cannot be accomplished alone.

By collaborating with others – whether that’s other services, government departments or concerned individuals – we believe that we can create a better Atherton Tablelands.

We also recognise that as a community, no individual should be left behind and that by working together, hand-in-hand across the Tablelands, we can indeed all be…

better together.

 

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