Promoting accessible social services in the Lower Clarence

Published on 05 October 2021

Maclean Service Centre opening.jpg

After a year of pandemic-related delays, the Maclean Service Centre has been officially opened.

The opening at the Anglicare North Coast building this morning was attended by Healthy North Coast, Clarence Valley Council representatives and the centre’s project partners.
Operating each Tuesday from 9.30am - 3.30pm, the Service Centre’s two hubs at 5 Wharf St and Wherrett Park give Lower Clarence residents access to free social and legal services they would otherwise have to travel for.

Clarence Valley Council Director of Governance Laura Black said that by having easy access to these in-person services, vulnerable Lower Clarence residents were more supported and connected to the services they need.

Social Futures Team Leader Helen Aaron said: “People with disabilities have expressed to me how challenging it is having to travel to Grafton to access essential services, and how much they appreciate being able to meet with our Local Area Coordinators in Maclean.”

One client of the Maclean Service Centre, Kozzett Hoyt, said her situation had improved after accessing services locally.

“Because I’m deaf, it is best to have meetings face to face with an interpreter present to help me and I’m able to travel directly to the Maclean Service Centre by Community Transport from Lawrence,” Ms Hoyt said.

The Maclean Service Centre is managed by Clarence Valley Council and funded by Healthy North Coast through the North Coast PHN program to improve the health and wellbeing of the Lower Clarence Valley communities. The project is supported by Australian Government funding.

Project background
In the aftermath of droughts, bushfires, and floods, and during a global pandemic, the Maclean Service Centre started at a critical time for vulnerable people in the Lower Clarence Valley.

The need for a health hub in Maclean was initially identified by the Maclean community during an in-depth survey in 2018.

Over 300 people participated in the Maclean Community survey and face-to-face interviews conducted by Healthy Towns.

The majority said they found it difficult to access alcohol and drugs services, disability and aged care services and mental health services.

Among the key priorities identified to benefit the health and wellbeing of the community, was to:

1. increase affordable health services;
2. provide outreach services at appropriate locations and times; 
3. Increase coordination between services
4. improve awareness of services
5. easier access to specialist service

Services schedule

HUB 1 (pop-up office)
Where: The Box, a youth space by the playground in Wherrett Park
When: Tuesdays 9.30am -3.00pm
What: Family support service

Social Futures Family Connect and Support 
Social Future’s Family Connect and Support providers bring together families, support services and community resources so that children and young people in the Lower Clarence are safe and well. An Aboriginal Program Worker will be present in Wherrett Park in Maclean on Tuesdays from August 24.
Bookings: Terry Watson - 0460 320 813 or email

HUB 2 (2 private rooms)
Where: 5 Wharf Street, Anglicare North Coast building
When: Tuesdays 9.00am-3.30pm
What: NDIS Support Coordination & free legal advice

Social Futures NDIS support (every Tuesday)
Social Futures partners with the NDIS to provide our community with Local Area Coordination (LAC) services, working directly with individuals, their carers and family. During an initial consultation they can help you understand and access the NDIS and link you to information, support and services in your local community.
Bookings: 1800 522 679 

2. Aruma (every Tuesday, except the first Tuesday of the month)
Formerly “House with No Steps” and “The Tipping Foundation”, Aruma is a disability service providing NDIS support coordination. Aruma helps clients find and connect with different mainstream services, with assisted independent living, and Specialist Disability Accommodation, among other services.
Bookings: 1300 538 746 

3. Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre (NRCLC) (every first Tuesday of the month only)
NRCLC is an independent social justice organisation, accredited by the National Association of Community Legal Centres, that provides free legal services throughout the Northern Rivers region. Particularly for those who are socially or economically disadvantaged and are unable to navigate the legal system. 

Bookings: 1800 689 889 or email  

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