How BCE schools support their multicultural communities


​St Paul’s School Woodridge Community Hub ©Brisbane Catholic Education, St Paul's School, Woodridge (2024).

THREE Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) schools are redefining the traditional role of schools within their communities through dedicated Community Hubs that foster inclusion and belonging.  

This Harmony Week (18 to 24 March), St Francis College Crestmead, St Paul’s School Woodridge, and St Brendan’s Primary School Moorooka are celebrating their partnership with Community Hubs Australia. 
The innovative Community Hubs serve as vibrant centres for social engagement, cultural appreciation, and continual learning opportunities for students, parents, and community members offering, services such as parental support, English lessons and career advice. 
St Francis College Crestmead Principal John Marinucci says the College’s Community Hub has played a crucial role in enriching the lives of families in the Logan area since 2014. 
“It’s important that people in our community have access to free essential services and programs, as a means of ensuring equitable opportunities for all,” he says.  
“Offering essential services such as the breakfast and mums & bubs clubs, craft sessions, exercise classes, English lessons, and resumes and job application support, our Community Hub proudly serves over 50 different cultural groups from 20 faiths. 
“We are dedicated to fostering a welcoming and supportive environment for every member of our community, and our Community Hubs serve as a cornerstone in achieving this goal.” 
In 2023 St Brendan’s Primary School Principal Cathryn Caldwell established a Community Hub within her new school community, inspired by the Community Hub at her former school St Paul’s School Woodridge. 
“After working at St Paul’s School, I wanted to bring the same community spirit and support to my new school community where diversity thrives,” Cathryn says.  
“At St Brendan’s Primary School, we are blessed to have students from Ethiopia, Kenya, Colombia, Philippines, Nepal, Thailand, Germany, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Afghanistan. 
“Our Community Hub supports our parent community to learn English and make connections within our school community.”  
With the Hub serving the community for one year now, Cathryn said it also offered vital services including playgroups, exercise, English, and citizenship classes, as well as resume and job application support. 
“At the heart of our Community Hub is a commitment to responsiveness and inclusivity, providing tailored support that meets the needs and interests of our multicultural community,” she said.  
St Paul’s School Principal Helen Boyes underscores the vibrant tapestry of the student community, comprising First Nations students from several language groups and individuals born in 17 different countries. 
Helen says her school boasts 232 students whose first language is not English, representing a plethora of 34 plus different languages spoken at home. 
“Our Community Hub is instrumental in fostering connections between families, particularly mothers and our school,” she says. 
“It offers essential services such as playgroups, sewing, cooking, and English classes. 
“Most importantly, our Community Hub is adaptable, meaning we can offer programs tailored to the specific needs of our community. 
“It supports families with tasks like bill payments, navigating Centrelink forms, and making important phone calls. 
“The Hub also works as a gateway to other important services such as domestic violence support, financial aid, kindergartens, high schools, employment agencies, housing services, and organisations supporting refugees and asylum seekers.” 
BCE’s Head of Education Marisa Dann says, in line with Catholic social teachings, BCE is committed to supporting all students and their families to feel welcomed, respected, included, and safe within our school communities. 
"Our school’s Community Hubs serve as vital extensions of our commitment to inclusivity and support,” she says. 
"They are vibrant centres where families can come together, access resources, and forge meaningful connections with one another and with their broader school community." 
About Community Hubs Australia:  
Community Hubs Australia Limited is a not-for-profit organisation that helps build social cohesion. 
Community Hubs Australia work with federal, state, and local governments; businesses; philanthropic and not-for-profit organisations; and community organisations to deliver a proven grassroots program that increases connection between individuals and communities. 

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