A MAJOR Gladstone support service will double in size with a $500,000 upgrade.
For the first time since HopeLINK moved into Shed 19 Darlymple Dr in 2001, its building will be expanded to cater for the growing need for its services.
Shed 19 pastor Lyall Muller said for more than a year it have had insufficient space for private counselling and other meetings.
A grant from the Gladstone Foundation worth $500,000 has allowed the not-for-profit organisation to complete the expansion.
Last year the organisation applied for $1 million in the third round of Gladstone Foundation grants to knock down its existing building to construct something new.
Mr Muller said the organisation received $500,000, leading it back to the drawing board for its big plans.
Now its expansion will be to the existing building and will have the service double in size with seven rooms for private counselling, training and meeting rooms, new ablutions and a welcoming entrance.
Last weekend the first sod was turned and now the group is preparing for construction.
With five employees working in the building, Mr Muller said it was difficult for counsellors and service providers to offer private and confidential meetings.
He said had turned back "walk ins" who come in for a cup of tea and a chat because of a lack of room and privacy.
"The big thing is we are so crowded now," he said. "This upgrade will make it more professional ... what we have was good for what we originally needed.
"We want to be friendly, a neighbourhood centre, and we've had a very limited ability to accommodate those people who drop in and need to chat and have a coffee.
"We haven't been able to do that for the last 12 to 18 months because we've been so busy."
"We're very thankful to the foundation because we never knew how we could do it all." The Gladstone Foundation was established as a perpetual trust in 2011 with contributions totalling $13.5 million by liquefied natural gas companies Queensland Gas Company (Queensland Curtis LNG), ConocoPhillips (Australia Pacific LNG) and Santos (Gladstone LNG).