A DIVERSE human services centre established in Millicent two decades ago when a need was identified for local support for vulnerable people continues to serve the community.
Twenty years of service delivery at the ac.care Millicent Community Centre was recently celebrated with clients invited to express what the centre meant to them, prompting praise for the support they received in the “welcoming” and “safe zone” from “kind staff”, some of whom have been employed at the site since it was established.
Continuously adjusting to match community needs, the centre has grown to offer diverse services, from emergency relief to family support, supervised child contact, personal and financial counselling, as well as serving as a Service SA and Services Australia agency and base for outreach by other organisations, including employment and housing providers.
“It’s great to be able to provide services in Millicent so people can just pop up the street, instead of having to go to Mount Gambier, especially when transport is an issue,” said centre manager Evonne Lambert, who notched up 20 years of service at the celebration after being part of the centre since its foundation.
“We do have a lot of housing issues in the Millicent area and people can visit the centre to access services and payments or even just obtain some emergency food supplies – it’s great that ac.care has been able to continue the service in the town for 20 years.”
Mrs Lambert said the centre was extensively supported with diverse donations, including food from Millicent supermarkets and restaurants, together with contributions from service clubs, Wattle Range Council and the broader community, to increase its impact for vulnerable people.
She said the longevity of staff service demonstrated their commitment as they embraced ac.care’s mission of providing support for country people to have safe homes, enough money to live on and strong, positive relationships.
ac.care chief executive officer Shane Maddocks said local people providing local services was vital to identify and deliver community needs.
“ac.care is incredibly proud of the service that has been provided to the Millicent community over the last 20 years,” he said.
“Our dedicated staff team with over 80 years of experience serving this community continues to provide a range of services, often saving people a 100km round trip to Mount Gambier – it is important people can access local services close to home, particularly when we know there are limited transport options.”
Wattle Range Council member John Drew said the work of organisations like ac.care supporting the community was vital.
“You just have to look around the centre and you can see what they provide to help people who are battling and those who just don't have access to a bank or need help with paperwork and government forms - the range of services is just amazing,” he said, thanking staff, volunteers and ac.care on behalf of the council for supporting the community.
Retiree Lynn Fisher was involved in establishment of the community centre and managing the service for the first five years.
“Staff, including some still here today, along with volunteers, spent weekends painting the interior of the building once the rooms had been constructed and we had a lot of fun,” she said.
“It's a wonderful community and I think still being here 20 years later speaks for itself ... the staff are friendly and happy and it's just a wonderful service for the local community of Millicent and surrounds.”
Find out more by calling 1300 ACCARE (1300 222 273).