Community or Neighbourhood Centres are hubs for social service provision and community capacity building. Community Centres provide a safe, trusting and welcoming space for people who are socially isolated, vulnerable and in need of support where there are no criteria. Community Centres promote social justice principles in inclusion. The centers also provide a space where people can learn, participate and contribute and this has a sense of belonging and improved well-being.
This can provide the opportunity for skill development and volunteering/work experience that may lead to employment outcomes. Community Centres provide a place for a diversity of people to connect with their neighbors, build relationships that contribute to community resilience and cohesion.
Community Centres are valuable not only to residents of the local area but provide an important conduit to the community for services. By hosting other services and brokering relationships, community centers provide a safe and accessible space for other visiting services and programs who out-reach from larger cities.
Community or Neighbourhood Centre provides:
· Universal services
· Hubs for place-based services premised on local inclusion and participation
· Advocates for the community
· A conduit for interconnectivity between the community and service providers
· Capacity builders for the community
o Supporting engagement of the community via volunteering
o Training across governance and promoting advancements through the community
o Encourage and empower new leaders
· Accessible non-clinical services – you don’t need a diagnosis to attend
· “Never say no” – center are risk tolerant, respectful and realistic
· Services that fill the gaps other services/organisations do not, cannot or will not address
· Cross general services that foster a variety of cultures, and abilities
· Low or no-cost services and activities.
Community Centres offer a platform for people to seek out answers for a number of complex issues. Staff at community centers can unpack these issues and set a clear referral path of services that can assist. Offering a soft entry approach to service delivery through socially inclusive groups, specific parenting programs and community events offers many platforms for the community to engage in their community and get the support they need.