Chris is the brains behind much of the research and policy work that NCQ leads, including the data collection and analysis in our Sector Impact Report. He is continuously working to bolster and connect the sector through network creation, and we regularly find him on the phone to members, listening to what’s happening in their community. When he’s not at work, he likes to spend time exploring and hiking in nature and enjoying time with his wife and children.
Chris has been deeply involved in community work across a wide range of contexts for over 20 years. For half that time he worked using community development methods to address mental health, self-harm, social justice and youth crime in a high school context. He has also spent his career committed to supporting people affected by Past Forced Adoption practices, through advocacy work and conducting research.
Chris then shifted to working with Neighbourhood and Community Centres (NCC’s) where he has played roles in Community Development, Volunteer Management, Consortium Work and Financial Resilience.
He was inspired to work in the Neighbourhood and Community Centre space because he knows just how life changing NCC’s can be through personal experience and seeing their transformational impact in others.
“I work in this sector, because I know how much a Neighbourhood Centre helped me and can help others. When I was a half time single parent, I knew what it was like to go through hard times and have the system against you. You bounce from service to service because you’re not eligible and can’t find the help you need. But Neighbourhood centres are an open door to everyone – there’s no eligibility criteria. And if a service doesn’t exist, they can create something new to fill a gap or try to change the system, so it operates better. ”
Chris brings so much expertise to the table, with his extensive studies in a range of areas. He completed his Bachelor of Ministries from the Australian College of Theology followed by a Graduate Diploma of Psychology at QUT and a Master of International and Community Development (PhD Pathway) at Deakin University. His multidisciplinary background brings a variety of research, practice and systems perspectives to his work which is ideal to demonstrate the diverse nature and value of Neighbourhood Centres across the state.
The combination of Chris’s studies, work and lived experiences means he has a deep and genuine understanding about the power of Neighbourhood and Community Centres and what they bring to communities.
“A Neighbourhood Centre is a place that understands local communities and the issues they face. Neighbourhood Centres are connected with their community through thousands of tiny relational fibres to people, organisations, stakeholders and the environment. In those connections they are working with empathy to create a fairer place for everyone to live and experience wellbeing.”
Chris was the first full time staff member of NCQ. We are grateful to have Chris as a longstanding team member and champion of Neighbourhood and Community Centres everywhere.
Published 26 September, 2022
Written By Taylor Bast