Connecting people through community centre

COMMUNITY CALL: Millicent Community Centre coordinator, Evonne Lambert is inviting all community members to join their range of activities and workshops on offer.

Caroline Hammat

Funding secured in 2023 by the Millicent Community Centre (MCC) has ensured the future of the facility for the next nine years.

Sixty community centres across the state shared in the $43 million from the Department of Human Services (DHS).

The Millicent centre is one of 18 regional centres which previously had not received their own funding.

It allows more flexibility for the centre to introduce programs aiming to combat social isolation, promote a stronger sense of belonging for those who are disadvantaged, provide inclusive programs and foster resilient communities.

Evonne Lambert is the MCC coordinator and listed several free initiatives already underway and announced plans to reinvigorate the site’s garden.

MCC has recently been successful in a grant application for landscaping the area with plans including raised garden beds accessible to all, espaliered fruit trees and terracing of the sloping site.

The landscaping will be finished off with a paved barbecue area and it is hoped the work will be completed by the middle of this year.

After listening to clients and discussing ideas with other community centres, MCC has introduced weekly activities available to all.

One of the latest offerings is the global Chatty Cafe scheme open every Monday afternoon which connects communities and increases social interactions.

The scheme has proved to be popular with tourists travelling through regions, new residents, and those just wanting to have a chat with others.

Other programs underway are regular craft and walking groups, a digital workshop and bingo.

“If someone has their own craft they can bring that along or we have a craft cupboard they can pick something from,” Ms Lambert said.

“Wednesdays we have a casual walking group, it’s just about getting out and stretching your legs.

“Thursday is very busy with the digital connection workshop for basic smartphone usage and getting online.

“A lot more organisations are saying to do things online so we’re having workshops to help if people are struggling with something online.

“Again on Thursday we have another social coffee group called Cuppa Care.

“At the moment it is well attended with lots of laughs and lame dad jokes.

“Straight after Cuppa Care we have bingo which is good fun.”

A range of services are available at the centre and it is a valuable resource for information.

It is an agent and outreach facility for, Services SA and DHS, and staff are able to renew car registrations, update transfers and licence renewals.

Computers onsite are available to access online services and job agencies.

Fruit and vegetables supplied by Foodbank are readily available and this is complemented by regular donations by community members who supply extra food, clothing and bedding.

“These donations are put out the front and people can just help themselves,” Ms Lambert said.

“There’s no assessment needed or anything.

“People can just come and have a look and take what they need.

“We also have our financial counsellor and we do emergency relief appointments for food assistance, which is a bit more than what is out the front.”

Further details about services and support are available from the centre at 57-59 George Street, Millicent.