The ‘Aspire Precinct’ will be a vibrant learning, educational and community hub for the Greater Bendigo community. It will be Australia’s first faith-based precinct that fosters inter-faith collaboration, promotes regional resilience and cohesion, provides life-long learning opportunities and supports social entrepreneurs. It will provide a public open space at a key entrance to central Bendigo, linking to the iconic Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Project planning for the Precinct is in progress and a planning permit has been issued by Council. It is anticipated construction will begin in early 2019.
The Aspire Precinct will encompass an interpretive centre with space for permanent and temporary exhibitions that will explore faith on the Goldfields and in the wider context. The space will also feature items of historical and cultural value from the Catholic Diocese and other local faith-based institutions. There will be indoor and outdoor areas for community gatherings and events. There will be an education centre with programs for all age groups, as well as a café, retail outlet, spaces for business meetings and events, parishioner and social gatherings.
The Aspire Precinct is being championed by three ambassadors:
– The Hon. Tim Fischer AC, Former Deputy Prime Minister, inaugural Australian Ambassador to the Holy See and Patron of the Aspire Cultural and Charitable Foundation
– The Hon. John Brumby, Former Premier of Victoria
– Gerry Ryan OAM, Businessman and Philanthropist
The activities and programs will be designed to provide value to the social, cultural and economic development of Central Victoria. They will be accessible to all local individuals, families and businesses (regardless of religious beliefs), as well as visiting friends and family. It will provide programs for visiting school groups, teachers and business groups, as well as become a significant drawcard for domestic and international tourists.