Whittlesea Community Connections was established in 1973 by local residents concerned with the lack of services to meet the support needs of the area. The organisation focused primarily on providing local people with the information, referral and advice they needed to access services that met their needs. For many years WCC operated with no or little formal funding and was powered by local volunteers. Our first office was shared with local Lalor Accountant.
In 1974, Tony Comito, a lawyer based in Lalor, offered the organisation a room in his new offices at 284a Station Street. It was here, in 1978 that we started our free legal advice service with the assistance of local solicitors who volunteered on Monday nights.
In 1987 the May Road Library Complex was built and WCC was provided a room for its activities and relocated there.
Three years later in 1990, our first Settlement Support Worker was appointed (Nilufer Yaman) – the position was then known as a grant-in aid worker.
In March 1990 the name Community Information Whittlesea was adopted.
1996 saw us relocate once again to our current premises at Shop 111, Epping Plaza. This was the same year the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs offered funding for two new positions to work specifically with the Macedonian community.
The period from 1996 on-wards saw a greater involvement and collaboration with the City of Whittlesea Council and our presence at Shop 111 enabled us to extend our opening hours.
In August 1997 WCC started to provide emergency relief services following the withdrawal of the Brotherhood of St. Laurence from the area.
A new and invigorated committee of management was elected in 1997 and in July 1998 this new committee appointed our long serving (18 years) CEO, Jemal Ahmet.
A 3-year funding contract was negotiated with the Council.
Since 1998, WCC has grown considerably adding many new services and programs.
- The establishment of Public Access Computer Facilities (2000)
- Establishment of the Arabic Speaking Settlement Support Program (2003)
- Establishment of the Whittlesea Volunteer Resource Service (2003)
- Establishment of the Whittlesea Community Legal Service (2004)
In 2005, the agency changed its name from Community Information Whittlesea to Whittlesea Community Connections and continued its expansion of services to address gaps and meet the growing need in the area. This included:-
- Establishment of Whittlesea Connect – Whittlesea’s first Community Transport Service (2006)
- Establishment of Learner driver education programs (2009)
- Establishment of the Women-in-Work Childcare Community Enterprise (2010)
- Establishment of the Housing Brokerage Project (2013)
- Establishment of the Thomastown West Community Hub (2013)
- Establishment of the Whittlesea CALD Communities Family Violence Project (2013)
- Establishment of the Hamdel Project (2014)
- Establishment of the Equity, Health and Justice Project (2016)
In the 2015/16 financial year WCC employed 28 staff, 11 casual employees and worked with more than 300 local volunteers. In this same year, WCC achieved more than 30,000 community and client contacts.
WCC derives its revenue from local, federal and state government and from a range of philanthropic trusts. Direct fund-raising and self-generated income is increasing.