WITH few gardens, no public spaces and little public transport, the Rocherlea broadacre housing development of 1983 was an isolated place for those living there.
Recognising the need for a facility to bring the community together, the Rocherlea Neighbourhood House was formed in a three-bedroom house.
Denise Delphin found herself volunteering with the gardening club not long after.
It was the beginning of decades of service to the communities of northern Launceston.
“It was a developing and emerging community, but there were no gardens,” Ms Delphin said.
“Things just went from there for me.
“After five years I was invited to join the board, and I now lead 20 staff and 60 volunteers as general manager.”
The early days were full of challenges. Ms Delphin recalls one of the first events held at the Neighbourhood House was a fair with stalls set up by locals, but torrential rain forced people to run for cover.
“We even had to stop the merry-go-round for the children,” she said.
The community persisted however, and the growth in demand for services resulted in a relocation from Blackwood Drive to Archer Street in 1990.
As the communities continued to grow, the Rocherlea and Mowbray neighbourhood houses merged in 1993 to form the Northern Suburbs Community Centre.
The opening of a new site in Newnhan in 2017 and a Men’s Shed has allowed the centre to further grow its services, evolving along with the northern communities.
Among those services is the learner driver mentor program.
“Driving is something a lot of people take for granted, but getting your licence can make the world of difference for so many,” Ms Delphin said.
Ms Delphin said one of the biggest changes in recent years has been the arrival of new communities from Bhutan, Sudan and Myanmar.
“There’s such a wealth of diversity in our community, particularly with new communities coming through the humanitarian and refugee intake,” she said.
“This has really enriched our community.”
Ms Delphin’s service to the community will be recognised when she is awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
She said it will be a proud moment.
“I’ve been a part of this community for 30 years and it has been a privilege,” Ms Delphin said.
“For me, the journey has been amazing. My life has been so enriched by working in this wonderful community, and the people I get to work alongside.
“Now we have a wonderful layer of new arrivals for our community.”