Established in 1980, PICAL is a part of the Gippsland region's Neighbourhood Houses Victoria organisation. Neighbourhood Houses aim to bring people together to connect, learn and contribute in their local community through social, educational, recreational and support activities, using a community-based approach. Here at PICAL we work towards developing strategies to improve our community whilst understanding and valuing its uniqueness. We endeavour to provide a strong, safe and vibrant community that values diversity and gender equity.

PICAL is also registered as a Learn Local Provider which means some of our courses receive Victorian Government funding making them more affordable to our priority learner groups.  These courses address the particular needs of those adults who have experienced barriers to education in the past and need some help to take the first step back to education, training and or employment.

Meet The Team

Greg Thompson

Centre Manager

Irene Naitoro 


Courtney Wallace

Women Connect Program Manager

Committee of Management

Chairperson:                 Irene Naitoro             




Secretary:                      Phylis Macklin

Treasurer:                      Steven Davie


U3A Rep:                        Steve Munro


Ordinary Members:    Chris Burns 

                                        Steph Thornborrow

                                        Phylis Macklin

                                        Kylie McMurray





The community of Phillip Island lost one of its most valuable helpers, with the recent passing of Phil Dixon. PICAL owes a huge debt of gratitude to Phil, who worked here as a volunteer and on our committee of management for many years over the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Phil created the emergency food relief service in December 2008, largely in response to the Global Financial Crisis of that time, it aims to help those less fortunate who did not know where their next meal was coming from. With the assistance of local churches, Phil organised donations from surrounding Cowes businesses, particularly Bakers Delight and our local supermarkets, and started promoting this service in the Advertiser. This service has operated continuously since then, with the contribution of many other local groups, banks and community organisations.

In the early days, there was only about 500 people each year who needed food relief, but this demand has steadily grown over the years. In 2019 the service received 1290 visits and fed nearly 2000 hungry people, half of whom were children. Since 2008, it’s estimated the service Phil started has fed in excess of 10,000 mouths.

In October 2019, PICAL recognised Phil’s efforts and foresight, charity work and commitment to helping the community, by naming the emergency food relief service the Phil Dixon Pantry. A plaque bearing Phil’s name now permanently welcomes visitors to the Pantry, and PICAL was also honoured to present Phil with a Lifetime Service Certificate.

So while we sadly say goodbye to Phil and pass on our condolences to her family, we remember her legacy and pay tribute to the asset she has bequeathed to the whole Phillip Island community.

Presenting Phil with her plaque in October 2019.

From L to R: Barbara Parrot, Phil Dixon, Kylie McMurray and Chris Burns  

56 - 58 Church St, Cowes VIC 3922

PH: (03) 5952 1131

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm (except Public Holidays)

Email: reception@pical.org.au

©2020 by Phillip Island Community & Learning Centre.