All Community Information Centres had their genesis in the old Citizens Advice Bureaus which were developed in England in the 1930s to provide the public with information and advice as the crisis of World War II came upon them.
The CABs (as they were known), were all manned by volunteers and tasked with assisting local people with things like missing persons, evacuation information and other matters relevant to that area. One of the earliest CABs was provided from an old horse cart!
The first CAB opened in Australia in 1963 and was modelled on the growing CAB bureaus in the UK. Today CABs are known by a variety of names, but all continue to offer information and referral.
In the mid-1990s, a group of Casey citizens got together and proposed the establishment of an organisation under the Citizens Advice Bureau model, like the one which at that time was already located in Cranbourne.
The Casey group were successful in gaining a grant from the new City of Casey, and set about marketing and advertising for volunteers, locating a suitable office space and in November 1997 were ready to open.
While Community Information may be our core business, by far our most demanded program has been the Emergency Relief program. This program has enabled us to understand the key problems facing our community and allowed us to develop a suite of services to best meet community needs. We deal with many different issues daily including family violence, financial hardship, health problems, relationship difficulties and homelessness. In 1999 we found ourselves homeless as Westfield Shopping centre commenced their next stage of development. We were located temporarily in some portables.
Since then, we have moved twice more with another move possibly pending. Click here to see a promotional video put together when we were based in Victor Crescent.
To see a short video about our 25 years of service please click here.
The Meeting of Many Paths
In 2001 we received a grant to commission an art project focussing on the Indigenous origins of our community. We worked with local artist Cathy Adams to jointly come up with a concept for the painting which has now become a key part of our identity.
With the City of Casey having the highest multicultural population, the more contemporary view of ‘tribes’ from all over the world settling in Casey was applied. The aim of the project was to promote the local cultural identity, both past and present and develop a united symbol of WELCOME to CNCISS.
The Aboriginal message stick is in the centre of the work and the ‘paths’ all contain a message of WELCOME from the different cultural groups that have visited the organisation. It remains a work in progress as new cultural groups visit and add their sign of WELCOME.
Please note: The copyright of the artwork should be noted in any promotional material and where the image of the painting is used.
Governance and Staffing
CNCISS is an incorporated not for profit organisation. We are a registered charity with a voluntary Board of Management drawn and representative of our local community and the work we do. Our key funding sources are the City of Casey and the Commonwealth Department of Social Services. We also have a many close relationships, partnerships and supporters who help us to provide the range of programs we offer that sit outside of the basic service suite our ongoing funding supports.
Day to day running of our service rest with our Executive Officer, who works with our highly qualified and skilled financial counsellors, social work staff, counselling team and case workers who, together with our volunteer team support over 8,000 households each year.
For details of our work in the past year, our Board, staff, volunteers and a list of those who have supported us over the past year, please peruse our latest Annual Report. (Casey North Community Information and Support Service Annual Report- 2023)
Please also see a short blog provided by Susan Magee, Executive Officer for over 25 years from 1997 to 2023, and one of our key social workers, Lidia Gruszka, who was the first and only Social Worker employed by our service at inception.