Community centre providing significant benefits to multi-cultural population

A social impact assessment of the Redbank Plains Community Centre has found it is providing significant benefits for the area’s multi-cultural population.

The 12-month study has revealed that the community centre is having positive impacts upon users.

Community members who have visited and engaged with the centre said they feel more welcome in the community than those who have not visited (70 per cent compared to 29 per cent), and also reported having a significantly more positive view of cultural diversity than those who have not visited the centre (83 per cent to 50 per cent).

General Manager of Community, Cultural and Economic Development Ben Pole said the Redbank Plains community is going through a period of exceptional growth and there are challenges around developing a sense of community and sense of welcome.

“However, for those people engaging with the community centre in particular, a sense of place is developing. ‘Diversity’ and ‘sense of community’ are seen as key community strengths,” he said.

The social impact assessment tracks ongoing strengths and challenges in the Redbank Plains community. The data collected not only tracks the impact of the centre, but provides an evidence base for the establishment of future community centres and similar council initiatives. This 12-month study will also inform ongoing programming and community support delivered at the centre.

“Furthermore, while there is a wealth of literature assessing individual programs run out of community centres, there is less literature assessing the impact of community centres in a holistic way and, based on the literature review undertaken, no published assessments that have tracked community centres from inception,” Mr Pole said.

“It is anticipated that this social impact assessment of the community centre will be a unique piece of research within the development sector.”

Council has conducted an independent baseline study, six-month study and 12-month study since the centre opened in May 2018. The centre is co-funded by council and the State Government and managed by Multicultural Australia Ltd. Council, in partnership with Multicultural Australia Ltd, is undertaking a multi-year social impact assessment, to track the social impact of the centre over time.

The 12-month study engaged 111 community members via a survey, and five community members in a focus group discussion, along with centre volunteers and council’s community research officer.

Key findings include:

+ 62 per cent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they felt welcome in their community

+ 49 per cent of people agree or strongly agree that there is a strong sense of community in their area (up from 32 per cent in December 2018)

+ 76 per cent value diversity in the community

+ 47 per cent of respondents felt they were very safe, quite safe or safe enough walking alone in the area

Mr Pole said data on community need suggests there are ongoing challenges around employment and economic stability for many families and individuals, food insecurity, mental health, and broader health concerns.

“The community centre is also helping to facilitate access to services, such as child and maternal health care, food security and financial counselling,” he said.

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 >>>Redbank Plains Community Centre improving cultural diversity and community spirit

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