The concept of what would become known as the Intown Centre was originally put forward more than 20 years ago when Geraldine Webster with help from friends and colleagues sought to provide meals for homeless and people without access to a kitchen or cooking appliances.
Along with representatives from local churches, Bunbury City Council, The Salvation Army and the Department of Community Development an organization called the Bunbury Community Group was formed in 1989.
The Uniting Church hall in Stirling Street, Bunbury, became the first home of the Group which opened its doors in March 1990. Meals which consisted of soup and sandwiches cost 20 cents and more than 1000 people were served in the centres first year.
The following year saw a re-location of the Bunbury Community Group to an old house in Victoria Street, Bunbury, demand from those in need had risen sharply. Opening time was 10am – 3pm, with soup and sandwiches and limited hot meals available for the cost of 50c. More than 3,500 people were served in the two years the BCG called this location home.
A further move saw BCG re-locate to the old Civic Building in Stephen Street, Bunbury. The hall was leased to the group for a peppercorn rent by the City of Bunbury. Demand for services was increasing and so to was support from local businesses and individuals. The number of volunteers had grown to 26 who served soup, sandwiches and a larger choice of hot meals. The Intown Centre became incorporated in 1994 as the public by word of mouth and in local media began to realise the value of the centre and the work that was being carried out by a dedicated group of people who worked hard in the community.
In 2002 the Bunbury City Council were making plans to expand plans its existing offices, which included the old civic building. A new location for the centre was needed.
A large public campaign was mounted and founding was sought to establish a permanent home to meet the needs of the local community.
After a lot of work by government departments, local businesses and generous donors a new home opened its doors to the public in October 2004.
The Intown Centre in Wittenoom Street, Bunbury offers a three-course meal for $2.50 for those in need, all made fresh with new equipment in a modern kitchen by friendly staff and volunteers.
As of May 2011 the Intown centre offers a number of services from its location in the Bunbury CBD it does this with the support of the City of Bunbury, government departments, local businesses, individual donors and most importantly volunteers.
We are grateful to all those who have and continue to give unselfishly of their time to the greater good of the community. Currently we have more than 30 volunteers, including kitchen staff, handyman, front desk and general helpers.
The bedrock of any community is the people who can be called upon to help when needed.
To all those volunteers who have helped over the years and continue to give we thank you.