Club Central welcomes new Chief Executive Officer

At the top of Paul Richardson’s, Club Central’s new Chief Executive Officer, to do list is getting to know the 146-strong team tasked with delivering outstanding service and experiences to Club Central members and guests.

Paul takes the helm from retiring CEO, Mike Walker, who stepped down the end of August 2018. President of the Illawarra Catholic Club Board, Brian Cloney, said the Board, management and staff at Club Central warmly welcome Paul to the role.

“We are fortunate to have someone of Paul’s calibre taking the reins from our long-serving CEO Mike Walker. Paul’s leadership experience in hotels and hospitality as well as a strong background in the food and beverage industry provide him with a wealth of knowledge to lead Club Central into the future,” Mr Cloney said.

Paul comes to Club Central from Outrigger Enterprises Group where he spent the previous two years as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. He has also held leadership positions at Sheraton Hotels and Resorts and Accor Hotels.

Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Paul has worked across New Zealand, the US and Asia Pacific.

“I believe that building relationships and developing and nurturing talent is key, not only to success, but to overcoming challenges. I’ve seen my fair share of challenges over the years such as the SARS epidemic in Taipei and the Christchurch earthquake,” Mr Richardson said.

“I can already see that we have a committed and energetic team at Club Central and look forward to working with them to continue to deliver top shelf experiences for our members and guests as well as driving growth for the business,” he said.

With membership for the 2017- 2018 financial year totalling 54,582, its highest ever level in the Club’s history, Club Central has a number of exciting plans in place.

At Hurstville, the $45 million stage 2 project to expand and refurbish the Club and construct a 124-room hotel on a neighbouring property is expected to kick off this month. While at Menai, the Terrace Bistro and Rustic Rickshaw have both launched new menus catering to a wide variety of tastes and providing excellent value and choice for family dining.


Club Central Expansion and Hotel Development Underway in 2018

Nine years after opening its current premises on the corner of Cross Street and Crofts Avenue, Hurstville, Club Central will commence building works in September on a $45 million project to refurbish and expand existing club facilities and construct a 124-room hotel. The expansion project will take place on adjacent club land located at 6-8 Cross Street.

Earlier this year Club Central entered into a Voluntary Planning Agreement with Georges River Council. This agreement will see almost $1 million contributed to improvements to the Hurstville central business district and local roads infrastructure, in addition to Section 94 contributions also totalling approximately $1 million.

“This project continues the Club’s commitment to providing first class facilities for members and guests, but through the VPA also ensures that we are making a substantial contribution to the Georges River community,” said Club Central President, Brian Cloney.

Over the years Club Central and its parent body, the Illawarra Catholic Club, has occupied three different buildings in Hurstville, all of which were created to ensure the needs of members were met and opened Club Central Menai as an additional premises located in the Sutherland Shire in 1997.

“We consider our clubs as not just buildings, but places for our community to come together. The expansion of our current offering at Club Central Hurstville is going to enable us to provide new and enhanced facilities for our members and guests, but importantly also supports the strategic directions for Hurstville as a key hub for community activity, entertainment and employment opportunities,” Cloney said.

Located at the centre of Hurstville’s bustling commercial core the Club expansion will deliver an additional café/bistro with outdoor terrace, expanded function centre (600 seat capacity) with its own dedicated kitchen facilities and two separate stage areas, an extension of the indoor and alfresco gaming and lounge areas, additional underground parking and new administration and retail space. The existing administration area currently occupied on L4 will be released to commercial tenants.

The 124-room hotel, to be leased to a hotel group, will be positioned on top of the expanded club premises on Cross Street on levels 4 to 8 and will include a central 5 storey atrium. The hotel will be a first for the Hurstville area. It is conveniently situated close to the airport, city and all local medical facilities and will support the local economy, in particular visitors, business and conference needs.

An early works program has been tendered for the demolition of the existing structures and excavation works. It is expected that tenders for the major contract will be called in October this year.

Plans and exterior images are on display in the Club Central Hurstville foyer.

Club Central Menai donates $142,570 to locals in need

As one of the largest and most effective grants programs in Australia, the annual ClubGRANTS program has again gifted local Sutherland Shire organisations with life changing funds. Club Central Menai has led the way in Sutherland Shire, donating $142,570 to eight local organisations supporting the Shire community.

“Giving back to the community is something that Club Central is very passionate about,” said Brian Cloney, President, Illawarra Catholic Club. “The volume of applications from worthy community groups, charities and schools, all providing valuable programs and services demonstrates the significant level of need in our community. It is fantastic to be able to support these grassroots programs which have a positive and tangible impact,” said Mr Cloney.

In addition to the $142,570 provided through the ClubGRANTS program, Club Central Menai has also given away more than $120,388 in cash donations to sporting and community groups as well as in-kind donations, including room hire waivers this year. That takes the total amount provided in community support to more than $264,958 so far in 2018.

In 2018 Club Central Menai’s ClubGRANTS target organisations providing programs and support for children and young people as well as the elderly and socially isolated.

Groups and programs supporting young people include Project Youth, the Autism Community Network, Zonta Club of Botany Bay, the Kookaburra Kids Foundation and the Catholic Education Foundation.

Older and socially isolated members of the community are being supported through partnerships with Nurses on Wheels and the John Franklin Christmas Lunch.

For the first time, Club Central is also providing funding to Sutherland Shire Carer Support Service in the important work it does to support the many carers in our community.

Check out our Community Page for more information on Club Central’s community partnerships and corporate social responsibility initiatives.

JULY 2018

July is Wish Dish Month at Club Central Menai

Club Central Menai has thrown its support behind Make A Wish Foundation for the second year in a row by hosting the Wish Dish, a month long campaign to raise funds to grant wishes to seriously ill children.

For every main meal purchased in the Terrace Bistro during July, Club Central Menai will donate $1 to Make A Wish. Last year this initiative raised over $6000 – with the aim to beat that amount in 2018.

Wish Dish month is already reaping rewards with over 2700 meals sold in the first week of July, meaning more than $2700 already raised for Make A Wish.

The Wish Dish is being supported by Sutherland Shire wish recipient and now Make A Wish volunteer, Birney Song, who was diagnosed with a Stage 3 Rhabdomyosarcoma in his right arm aged just 11 years old.

“Rhabdomyosarcoma is a muscle tumour, and mine was around the size of an egg by the time it was diagnosed,” said Birney.

“As an 11-year-old, I wanted to be an actor, so Make A Wish organised two visits for me. One to the set of a TV show and another to the set of The Great Gatsby, which was being made at Fox Studios at the time.

“My mum, dad and I got picked up in a limo and we met some of the actors including Leonardo Di Caprio, Toby Maguire, Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton and director Baz Luhrmann.

In calling for the community to support the Wish Dish campaign, Birney explained the power of a wish for a child going through treatment for a life-threatening illness or disease.

“A child shouldn’t have to spend time going through illness and treatment. A wish affords a child a moment of pure joy, to do what a child should be doing,” Birney said.

“A wish is a beautiful distraction for the child but also the whole family. Especially, it’s important for the parents as a wish gives hope and restores some innocence and normality back into their new reality of hospital visits and anticipating test results,” he said.

Having recently graduated from a Bachelor degree in Medical Science at UNSW, Birney explained how his illness and wish has motivated him to pursue a career in Medicine as well as becoming a Make A Wish volunteer since early 2017.

I visit local families and get to know the child receiving a wish. Together we then come up with ideas of what their wish could be so Make A Wish can get to work making it happen,” Birney explained.

“I ask everyone to please support the Wish Dish at Club Central Menai so we can help grant the wishes of seriously ill children here in the Sutherland Shire,” he said.

The Wish Dish campaign is part of ClubsNSW’s “Do Something Day” initiative. “Do Something Day” is Wednesday 25 July and Club Central Menai has decided to extend this into a whole month.

JUNE 2018

Club Central Chefs to Face Mystery Box Challenge in State Culinary Competition

Club Central Menai’s Head Chef, Haque Shanaweaz, and Sous Chef, Sandip Patel, are picking up steam in their bid to win the Chef’s Table Culinary Competition hosted by ClubsNSW in early July.

The Chef’s Table competition and awards recognise the talented and creative chefs, cooks and apprentices cooking up a storm at registered clubs across New South Wales.

The keenly contested battle will pack a surprise punch this year with a mystery box challenge for the cook off. Chefs will be provided with a mystery box of ingredients, along with basic pantry items, and then have a short period to design, prepare and present a top notch three course menu for the judges.

Head Chef Haque Shanaweaz, has held positions at a number of high profile Sydney restaurants including Sydney Cove Oyster Bar, Café Chicane, the Hilton Sydney, the Lowenbrau and Pink Salt in Double Bay. Haque enjoys cooking fresh fish like John Dory and is hoping seafood is included in the mystery box.

“I love everything about cooking, from the fresh ingredients, to creating an enjoyable experience for people. My go to meal for a quick dinner at home is pasta with olive oil, garlic, chilli, spinach and cherry tomatoes. If I can add some seafood to it, even better,” he said.

Club Central Menai is one of only two Clubs in the Sutherland Shire taking part in the ClubsNSW Chef’s Table culinary competition, and one of 23 Clubs in NSW whose chef pairs will pit themselves against each other over the three days of competition.

Sous Chef, Sandip Patel, who is also charged with creating the high-quality meals served at Club Central Menai functions, has always wanted to be a chef. He completed commercial cookery with Simmone Logue Fine Food after moving to Australia from India in 2006.

“If I’m eating out then I enjoy a good quality piece of steak. My favourite dishes to cook though are curries of course and stir fries with Asian influences,” he said.

Myriam Facer Catering holds the contract for the Terrace Bistro at Club Central Menai and owner Myriam is looking forward to seeing what is produced in the competition.

“It’s a great opportunity for clubs to showcase the talented chefs they have in their kitchens. But at the same time, pushes us all to be our best and deliver innovative, delicious food,” said Myriam Facer.

The Chef’s Table judges include Julio Azzarello, Courtney Roulston, Adam Moore and Nenad Djuric. Haque and Sandip will be competing on Thursday 5 July.

MAY 2018

CEO calls time on club career

A lengthy and distinguished career for the Chief Executive Officer of Illawarra Catholic Club is coming to a close, as another exciting chapter for Club Central is about to begin.

Mike Walker commenced employment at Illawarra Catholic Club as its first Operations Manager in December 1995. He was then appointed as Chief Executive Officer, at the retirement of his predecessor John Ohlin. Mike has announced his retirement from the ICC Group, effective August 2018.

CEO for the past 16 years and Operations Manager for six years prior, Mike is far from hanging up his toolbelt. He will stay on with the ICC in a consultancy role as project manager for the Club’s redevelopment at Hurstville and managing other commercial property negotiations currently under consideration.

“After 22 years with the Illawarra Catholic Club and having been part of the many changes and transformations of the Club, which has been most rewarding, it is time for someone else to take the reins,” Mr Walker said.

The Board has engaged the services of a recruitment consultant and the process of finding a replacement is already well underway. Meanwhile, it will be business as usual at Club Central Hurstville and Menai as the organisation looks towards the future and the exciting plans in place.

“I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to the ICC Board, my management team, the staff and patrons at Club Central Hurstville and Menai. Although not without many challenges over the years, my role and involvement with the club has always been enjoyable and rewarding,” Mr Walker said.

Looking back on Mike’s tenure, President of the ICC Group, Brian Cloney thanked Mike for his dedicated service to the ICC Group.

“Mike’s attention to detail and insistence on only accepting the best from his suppliers and staff has contributed to our growth and success over the years. With him staying on in a consultancy role, he will oversee and project manage the upcoming extension at Hurstville,” Mr Cloney said.

Career highlights with the ICC Group are many and varied for Mike. Some of the most significant include the successful construction of new Club premises in Hurstville in 2009 along with the re-branding of both clubs and major refurbishment of Club Central Menai in 2012 and the building of the new Club Central Menai Entertainment Precinct in 2015. Mike has overseen upward of $80 million in capital development works for the ICC Group to date.

In 1997 ahead of the opening of the new premises at Menai, Mike was responsible for ensuring every aspect of the business was ready for the first day of operation. From the employment of a whole new workforce to the procurement of all manner of stock required along with marketing and business development, he wore many hats.

The opening of Club Menai proved good timing for the community as in just its second week of trading it became an evacuation centre when the Menai district was threatened by bushfire. Mike worked around the clock alongside club staff, accommodating families and their pets. Waterfalls Restaurant within the Club was turned into a temporary medical centre and the boardroom and administration areas into a child care area for young ones whose parents were unable to reach them.

At the helm of the ICC, Mike has also seen off many challenges, including the introduction of gaming machine tax under the Carr Government in 2003, the staged implementation of smoking bans and the global financial crisis in 2008 which impacted heavily on the club industry.

After opening 56 years ago on a single floor in a former dance hall in Diment Way, Hurstville with just 217 members, the ICC Group has grown to a multi-site venue catering for all ages and demographics across food, beverage and entertainment. A diversification into commercial property holdings totalling approximately 12,000 sq metres across ICC House, Victory House and Club Central Menai’s Entertainment Precinct has added to the success of the ICC Group.

“When I commenced with the ICC Group its assets (members’ equity) totalled some $14 million. At my retirement, the ICC Group’s assets will total more than $160 million,” Mr Walker said.

Mike’s pride has been the establishment of a business model that ensures the future of the Illawarra Catholic Club for generations to come, which also includes the large increase in donations and in-kind support to the community in recent years.

At the Illawarra Catholic Club’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2012 the Club announced a $1 million donation to Calvary Hospital, along with $400,000 to the Sylvanvale Foundation. This was followed by a $1 million donation to the St George Cancer Care Centre in 2015 to fund a major overhaul of the chemotherapy area, providing an additional 11 chemotherapy chairs, more beds, clinician rooms and greater patient space and privacy. These donations were made on top of the Club’s normal ClubGRANTS funding.

In the 2016/17 financial year, Club Central’s support of the Georges River community through annual ClubGRANTS, sponsorships, donation and in-kind support totalled more than $785,000. In the Sutherland Shire, a further $213,091 was donated through the same channels proving that Club Central lives up to its mission of giving back to the communities in which it is established.

Mike has been involved in the club industry for over 42 years and in addition to this has managed a transport company, built waterslides at the Nowra Olympic Pool, was briefly involved in the hotel industry and at one stage even cut mine timber for contractors to the Illawarra coal mines.

“Mike has built a good team around him and has led the club through its most successful period, so he will hand over to the new CEO a very professional unit. We all wish him well in his upcoming transition to retirement and thank him for his efforts as CEO,” said Mr Cloney.

APRIL 2018

Super fun for Menai’s Budding Super Heroes

Menai’s budding Super Heroes dug deep at our Super Hero Day to raise $717 for Muscular Dystrophy Australia.

Muscular Dystrophy is a genetic disorder which results in the progressive deterioration of muscle strength and function and affects up to 1 in 1000 people in Australia.

Proceeds from a heap of fun activities like slime making, meat raffles and special Super Hero meal deals went towards the fundraising total. Our Super Heroes flexed their muscles and got crafty whilst raising awareness of a disorder that has a profound impact on people’s lives.

The Super Hero slime making workshops tapped into the latest obsession with slime and were sold out. Everyone took home some hand-made goo and had a heap of fun getting their hands slimy.

The muscle men from the next Menai Mania VI paid a visit and provided some great entertainment with arm wrestling and weightlifting competitions. There was super hero mask and badge making and face painting as well.

To keep the Super Hero hunger at bay, the Terrace Bistro offered a special meal deal with a ham and cheese pizza and ice cream with topping with $1 from these also donated to the cause.

Fast, Fresh & Delicious – New Hawker-style Street Food at Rustic Rickshaw 

Enjoy restaurant-quality Asian fusion takeaway with Uber Eats

Inspired by the buzzing atmosphere of street food markets in Malaysia, China and Thailand, Rustic Rickshaw has introduced a new hawker-style menu that brings Asian fusion street food to the Sutherland Shire, and has made it all available via Uber Eats.

Rustic Rickshaw’s owner, John Lim, says the new menu has been designed to cater to anyone looking for an authentic Asian fusion experience, with fresh tastes, variety, affordability and convenience.

“We know that people want to experience the true hawker style street food and the new dishes on the menu deliver that by blending the diverse cooking styles of Malaysia, China and Thailand. We’re giving you the best tastes from across Asia, as well as plenty of old favourites,” said John Lim.

“We offer authentic street food with a modern twist in a casual, comfortable setting. And we’re pleased to be able to offer our delicious menu via Uber Eats, making it even easier to enjoy the new hawker style street food at home,” he said.

“There’s no right or wrong way to enjoy our menu – try a taste of a few dishes and pick your favourites. We offer a low-cost range of restaurant-quality lunch specials for $12.50, and you can be in and out in half an hour. Or bring a group of friends or family for dinner to share food and catch up,” he said.

A new head chef Heng Choon is leading the charge at Rustic Rickshaw, which has been operating at Club Central Menai’s Entertainment Precinct for just under 12 months. With over 10 years’ experience in some of Sydney’s best Asian restaurants including the former Ginger & Spice, Fu-Manchu and China Doll, as well as plenty of hands on experience in the street stalls of his home town of Kuala Lumpur, he is delivering some vibrant new tastes.

There are a range of fresh options in the menu’s new “Hawkers Corner” including a melt in your mouth experience with the Malaysian-style Beef Rendang. For lunch you can work your way through the five $12.50 special lunch offers including Special Hainanese Chicken Rice, Stir Fried Flat Noodle Malaysian Style, Pad Thai (chicken or beef), Mee Goreng (Malaysian Fried Noodle) or Nasi Goreng (Malaysian Fried Rice).

The Asian-fusion experience is rounded out with several other new menu selections including a Malaysian Style Curry Chicken which will have you fighting to mop up the last dribble of sauce, Thai-inspired Red Curry Duck and Cantonese-style Stir Fried Pork Ribs.

New hawker side dishes have also been added including Chicken Satay Skewers, Malaysian Roti Curry and a deep fried Asian Tofu Salad with a sweet, sticky finger-licking sauce topped with fresh cucumber.

Those looking for the Chef’s Specials won’t be disappointed with a Thai-style deep-fried Barramundi Salad that’s light as air with a tangy herb and cucumber salad, Deep Fried Barramundi Fillets and Wok-tossed Beef Fillet with Peking Sauce.

Rustic Rickshaw is open Wednesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner. Located in the Club Central Menai Entertainment Precinct, 44-60 Allison Cres, Menai 2234.

Will you help Club Central Share the Dignity this April?

Club Central has thrown its support behind Australian charity, Share the Dignity, which aims to bring dignity to homeless, at-risk and women experiencing domestic violence by collecting sanitary items throughout the month of April.

Club Central Hurstville and Menai have been approved as official collection points for the Dignity Drive with Share the Dignity collection boxes available in each Club’s reception during April. Members and guests are encouraged to donate new, unopened sanitary items which will be distributed to women in need.

“On any given night in Australia 1 in 200 people are homeless. 44% of these are female. When you donate sanitary products to Share the Dignity, you’re giving a woman experiencing homelessness or financial crisis the essentials so she doesn’t need to choose between food and dignity,” said Chantelle Chapman, Marketing & Business Development Manager, Club Central.

“Our club workforce is roughly 45% female so this is a really important initiative for us. Club Central staff across Menai and Hurstville have kick started the collection and have been bringing in items for a few weeks now.

“We are determined to make a big contribution to the Dignity Drive this April, so we’re asking that the next time you’re doing your shopping, keep this in mind: one box for me, one box for her,” Mrs Chapman said.

Donations can be dropped into the collection boxes in the reception areas at Club Central Menai and Hurstville.

MARCH 2018

Club Central Community Crew joins forces with Council and Project Youth to make Menai shine





The community-minded volunteers from Club Central Menai gave up their own time early in March to host the Menai Community Clean Up for Clean Up Australia Day.

The area chosen was Menai Conservation Park, located behind the Menai Indoor Sports Centre and adjacent to Club Central Menai and Menai Metro. This was the first clean-up of the reserve that  Club Central has organised for Clean Up Australia Day and to make it a successful event, we partnered with Bushcare volunteers from Sutherland Shire Council who attend the site twice a month to clean up and weed, along with a great bunch of volunteers from Project Youth.

A lot of takeaway food waste is generally found in the park however it was a pleasant surprise that less rubbish than usual was found in the reserve, perhaps because more people are keeping or collecting plastic bottles to drop into the Return and Earn drop off at Menai Marketplace.

Club Central is committed to being a sustainable business. We have a ‘Green Team’ with staff from all parts of the Club who challenge the business to become more environmentally friendly.

So far the Green Team has implemented a comprehensive recycling program for all paper, cardboard, glass, cooking oil, plastic bottles and metal. If it’s recyclable we are doing it! All administration areas, back of house wash up areas, kitchens and the TAB are now recycling all waste consistently. We recycle 50% of our total waste. Club Central has also introduced a food processing unit called ORCA, which “digests” up to 110 kilos of food waste per day. Within 24 hours, this technology turns food waste into environmentally safe water that flows straight into the sewage system.

Plenty of rubbish along with two shopping trolleys and a BMX bike were collected in the Clean Up, which we hope will become a regular event on the calendar each year.

Club Central donates over $117,000 to local sporting clubs in 2018

Club Central is proud to support 30 grass roots sporting clubs across the Menai and Hurstville areas through its annual sporting grants program with over $117,000 donated in 2018; the largest amount donated to local sporting clubs in the Club’s history.

Club Central President, Brian Cloney explained that supporting local sport is one way that Club Central gives back to its local communities.

“We’re very proud to support local sporting clubs each year. One of the strengths of our community is its volunteers, and our financial support is one way that we are able to say thank you to all of the groups providing sporting fun for people of all ages.

“It’s also great to see such a broad range of sporting codes being played including football, physical culture, cricket, athletics, golf, AFL, rugby league, rugby union, netball, baseball, basketball – even a pony club!

“Sport is something that many families enjoy together and we are really pleased to be able to support the development of sports at that grassroots level. Our grants program assists sporting clubs with expenses, uniforms, equipment and training needs,” Brian said.

“Over the years we’ve seen a number of players from local Menai and Hurstville sporting clubs achieve amazing results. As a community we are right behind them every step of the way,” he said.

The financial grants are not the end of the support provided with Club Central giving in-kind support to all sporting clubs in the form of room hire waivers for club meetings and functions. In 2017 this amounted to almost $45,000.

“We love our sport and we know that the community does too, so it’s a winning formula all round,” said Brian Cloney.


Work Gets Underway for St George Cancer Care Centre Haematology Oncology Day Centre

Club Central Directors and CEO were on hand for the official launch of the $5 million expansion of the St George Cancer Care Centre Haematology Oncology Day Centre and Outpatient Clinic by NSW Minister for Health, the hon Brad Hazzard and Mark Coure MP.

In 2015, Club Central was proud to donate $1 million to the project to help achieve a first-class facility to meet the growing needs of the community.

At the completion of the project later this year the new Cancer Care Centre will be more than three times the size of the current facility which will enable it to continue to provide the best possible patient care and the more than 50,000 visitations from cancer patients every year.





Club Central Menai Wins NSW Customer Service Award

Club Central Menai has been recognised amongst more than 30 medium-sized clubs in NSW for providing outstanding customer service. The prestigious Superior Service Club Award is presented by OOPS (Outstanding Operating Procedures and Services) to acknowledge outstanding customer service in the clubs, hotels and pubs industry.

“This award is evidence of our team’s commitment to our vision to exceed customer and community expectations in everything we do. It shows that we are achieving our mission to provide facilities, service and value that lead to positive experiences and demonstrates that our staff are willing to go the extra mile for members and guests,” said Club Central Chief Executive Officer, Mike Walker.

OOPS provides evaluation and auditing of customer service, image and presentation standards as well as regulatory compliance for registered Clubs across NSW.

“The OOPS mystery shoppers conducted 16 visits and evaluations of Club Central Menai resulting in an aggregate score of 97% in our core reporting criteria across the foyer, bar and gaming customer service areas,” said Michelle Pascoe, General Manager, OOPS.

The OOPS Awards are presented across three categories of large, medium and small clubs and are in their sixth year. The coveted award identifies clubs that are creating memorable experiences that will have customers returning and recommending venues to others.

“Across the industry the level of consistent superior service and the ability to exceed expectations of club patrons was certainly raised in 2017. We are pleased that Club Central Menai’s reputation as a leading-edge community grounded club has been confirmed with this result,” said Ms Pascoe.

Clubs eligible for the awards are assessed several times each quarter through mystery visits or calls to reception requesting details of an upcoming event. The way staff respond and how the Club presents and delivers its services and facilities are all considered in the final score.

“Our challenge now is to improve on the wonderful benchmark we’ve established and continue to provide excellent service for our members and guests,” said Mr Walker.

Quotes from the OOPS mystery shoppers after visiting Club Central Menai:

“Staff were seen to be professional at all times and conducting their duties in a diligent manner. They worked very well together and were observed helping out wherever it was needed, all while ensuring I was made to feel like a valued patron of the Club.”

“Excellent gaming facilities, coupled with polite, friendly and genuine interactions from team members who ensured that all members and visitors in the gaming area were served well.”

“The foyer was very impressive on first sight. Lighting, temperature control and décor were maintained at appropriate levels to offer a comfortable and welcoming experience. Staff members greeted us very warmly and came across as friendly, polite and genuinely happy to assist.”

“It has been said that first impressions count and this is certainly true for Club Central Menai where an excellent first impression was gained by me and others due to the customer focus and attention of the staff, and the great appearance of the entrance and foyer area.”

“A superior venue with excellent ambience, polite friendly staff members and high-quality facilities on offer.”


500 students benefit from hospitality work experience at Club Central Menai

The team behind the great meals at Club Central Menai, Myriam Facer Catering, have been rewarded for hosting more than 500 hospitality work experience students over the past five years by the Southern Sydney Business Education Network.
Owner, Myriam Facer, was recently presented with a Vocational Education & Training (VET) Excellence Award in recognition of the contribution to VET Workplace Learning.
Local students are given work experience under the supervision of qualified chefs at Club Central’s Terrace Bistro, providing a taste of what it’s like to work in a busy commercial kitchen.
“On average we serve more than 3,500 meals every week, including everything from seafood platters to burgers and pizzas. But our biggest seller is the good old chicken schnitzel and I think it’s because our chefs hand crumb the schnitzel fresh every day,” said Mrs Myriam Facer, Owner, Myriam Facer Catering.
“Traditionally Christmas is one of the busiest times, but our busiest single day of the year is Mother’s Day, where we serve around 1000 people. Our kitchen is a very fast-paced environment, but it’s really enjoyable to deliver good-quality food for our customers.
“We’re thrilled to be recognised with a Host Employer Excellence Award from the Southern Sydney Business Education Network. Hosting work placements and work experience students is a great way to help young people get a taste of the work force in a practical and safe environment. It’s our way of giving back to our local community and hopefully helps inspire our young people to take on a future career in hospitality,” she said.

Celebrating everyday beauty and resilience through art

To celebrate International Day of People with a Disability, Kingsgrove Community Aid Centre unveiled a masterpiece called “Wonderland” created by students of its Disability Art Class and Day Care program on Wednesday 6 December.


Chief Executive Officer of Kingsgrove Community Aid Centre, Anne Farrah Hill says the aim of the Disability Art Program is to empower local people with a disability to engage with and be active contributors to their community.
“We’ve launched this artwork as a celebration of the program and to demonstrate the enjoyment that our participants get out of exploring their creativity,” said Mrs Farah Hill.
“We’ve been supporting young people with disabilities and their families for the past five years and designed this program to provide activities and services for people who are 18 years and over in the Kingsgrove and St George areas. We were grateful to receive a $13,000 grant from Club Central Hurstville which enabled us to provide this as a free service to the community,” she said.
Club Central Director, Sandra Coogan, helped launch the artwork and congratulated the group on the finished piece.
“What a better way to celebrate International Day of People with a Disability than to unveil a masterpiece created by some talented locals. It’s fantastic to see the difference this program is making and Club Central is proud to be able to support community members with a disability to connect and engage with each other in a meaningful way,” said Ms Coogan.
The “Wonderland” artwork has been created by a group of students ranging in age from 19 to 76 and depicts the beauties of the local environment, full of sunshine, trees, flowers and butterflies.
A further eight pieces of art from KCAC’s Disability Art Class will be framed and displayed at the Civic Theatre Hurstville with electronic copies on screen rotation at Westfield Hurstville, as part of the Georges River Council’s International Day of People with Disability celebrations.
As well as gaining significant enjoyment from the art and craft activities, the participants have shown improvements in their interpersonal and independent living skills through the yoga and cooking segments of the program.
“The program has been an outstanding success with 15-25 participants for every session since it began in February this year. Based on the feedback we hope to continue the program and introduce more fun activities with clay modelling, singing, dancing, cooking and outdoor activities,” said Ms Farah Hill.
For more information on Kingsgrove Community Aid Centre’s programs visit


Menai Businesses Celebrate Success at Business Awards

More than 200 people celebrated the 17th Menai District Business Awards at Club Central Menai with 14 awards recognising the best of the best amongst local service providers and retailers.

A total of 47 businesses located in the Alfords Point, Bangor, Barden Ridge, Illawong, Lucas Heights, Menai and Woronora areas were nominated.
“Since 2000 the Menai District Business Awards have been recognising local operators who are excelling in providing high quality products and services to the community,” said Mike Walker, Chief Executive Officer, Club Central.
“However, this will be the last year for the Menai District Business Awards, following the amalgamation of the Menai and Sutherland Business Chambers.
“Our awards program have provided a fantastic way for businesses to benchmark themselves against local competition. The winning businesses have benefitted from a boost in customer confidence and improvements in recruitment and retention of great staff who want to work for a reputable local business,” Mr Walker said.
“Over the past 17 years the Menai District Business Awards have assisted in promoting the whole Menai District to the wider community, which has delivered significant benefits to all businesses in the area,” he said.
Awards were handed out across eleven categories including Automotive, Café & Takeaway, Education, Fashion, General Retail, Hair & Beauty Services, Health, Home & Trade Services, Professional Services, Real Estate and Restaurants.
The judges also gave several special awards, including an Award for Excellence to Little Kids Academy in recognition for winning the Education Category for three years running.
A Judges Encouragement Award was given to two deserving finalists, Mortgage Choice Menai and the Copperpot Indian Restaurant.
“We congratulate all of the businesses nominated on their success and thank you for supporting this local initiative. We wish you all the best as we head into the busy festive season,” said Mr Walker.

Menai District Sports Awards Celebrate 13 Years of Local Sporting Success

Billy Burke from Aquinas Colts Junior Rugby League Club has been crowned the 2017 Sports Star of the Year at the 13th annual Menai District Sports Awards, beating out a strong field of finalists across athletics, basketball and cricket.

A spectacular awards dinner was held at Club Central Menai to celebrate the event which has been acknowledging the best in local sport across individual and team categories for the past 13 years.
“Our Menai District Sports Awards have a proud tradition of unearthing local stars amongst junior and senior athletes and celebrating their successes from the sporting season. It’s also a chance for us to recognise the significant contribution that sporting clubs and their members make to the community,” said Brian Roberts, Club Central Vice President.
“Since 2004 the Menai District Sports Awards have recognised more than 500 outstanding local sporting clubs, their athletes and future sporting stars. This year a total of 52 nominations were received across individual and team categories,” he said.
Awards were presented across eleven categories ranging from junior and rookie sports stars, senior individuals and teams as well as hard working club representatives and volunteers.
“We congratulate all nominees, finalists, runners up and winners in the 2017 Menai District Sports Awards.
“Club Central is proud to have been recognising the depth of local sporting talent in the Menai District for the past 13 years. The Sutherland Shire has a strong sporting culture and it is great to see the tradition of playing sport being shared by so many and passed on to new generations each year,” Brian Roberts, Club Central Vice President said.

A full round up of winners can be found here.

Club Central partners with Learning Links to support children with learning difficulties

Children and families attending Learning Links Preschool in Peakhurst are set to benefit from a significant grant provided by Club Central Hurstville. Part of the $43,000 funding granted to Learning Links in 2017 will be put towards the replacement of soft fall rubber flooring in the outdoor place area used for children’s therapy and motor skill development.


Club Central has been a proud advocate and supporter of Learning Links for many years, said Learning Links CEO, Birgitte Maibom.
“Learning Links is a not-for-profit charitable organisation where limited funding is available to help children with learning difficulties and disabilities. The ongoing support from clubs such as Club Central, enables Learning Links services to reach a wider group of children and assists us in upgrading our centre’s facilities.
“The Club Central grant will fund the surface replacement at our Learning Links Preschool. This is a vital space used for gym groups, therapy sessions and to help build children’s motor, sensory and social development,” said Ms Maibom.
The Learning Links Preschool is an inclusive preschool where children of all abilities learn alongside each other. The Preschool provides therapeutic activities and sessions to promote skill development for all children.
“Club Central’s support greatly assists the work Learning Links provides to the community. Club Central is just as committed to our mission to help provide families with the support, skills and services to enable their children to reach their potential as we are and we’re grateful for its ongoing support,” said Ms Maibom.
“Club Central has been proudly supporting Learning Links for ten years with grants totalling more than $245,000. We’ve seen the difference that Learning Links makes in the community in that time. The programs and facilities offered by Learning Links are supporting our next generation with essential development skills that will help them reach their full potential now and into the future,” said Mike Walker, Chief Executive Officer, Club Central.
Learning Links is a not-for-profit charitable organisation established in 1972 by parents concerned about the lack of appropriate education and support services for children with learning difficulties. Learning Links work with these children, their families and schools offering tailored programs and services to improve the children’s learning, wellbeing and participation helping them reach their full potential.


Club Central and Zonta get stuffing for Breast Cancer

Staff from Club Central volunteered to help create Zonta Breast Care Cushions to bring comfort to breast cancer patients during Breast Cancer Awareness month in October.


On Thursday 12 October Club Central staff helped stuff and stitch the Zonta Breast Care Cushions, small hand-made cushions that fit neatly under a patient’s arm post-surgery to protect sensitive scars and avoid accidental but painful knocks.
The Zonta Breast Care Cushion is the brainchild of Ann Selle OAM, a member of the Zonta Club of Botany Bay. The cushions have been funded by Club Central for the past five years with an annual grant of $3,000 through its ClubsGRANTS program. The grant also funds the production of an information booklet for patients with information from trained Breast Care Nurses.
“Thanks to the huge amount of volunteer hours put in by the Zonta club members, the cost of this amazing initiative is not significant, however it has an enormous impact on the lives of women and men going through breast cancer treatment,” said Sandra Coogan, Director of Club Central.
“We are pleased to provide the funds for these cushions so they can be given away free to patients. The stitching and stuffing day is also a great way for Club Central staff to get involved in a program that’s making a big difference in our local community and helps promote breast cancer awareness this month,” she said.
It’s estimated that several hundred thousand of the u-shaped cushions have been distributed to breast cancer patients by Zonta Clubs across Australia and internationally.
“The idea for the breast care cushion came in 1994 when I saw a friend going through treatment for breast cancer. Our Zonta volunteers from the St George and Sutherland Shire have created more than 10,000 of these cushions over the past 23 years. It’s a great example of something small that continues to make a big difference many years later,” Ann Selle said.
“We stuffed and stitched around 50 cushions with the help of Club Central staff, which is about a two-month supply for patients in St George Hospital, St George Private Hospital and Sutherland Hospital,” she said.
If you know someone who would benefit from a Zonta Breast Care Cushion, contact the Zonta Club of Botany Bay on