Services consolidated in heart of Murray Bridge
IT WAS a milestone year for ac.care with access for clients greatly enhanced when three Murraylands offices were consolidated at one site in the heart of Murray Bridge. Opening of the ac.care Murraylands Centre in December brought staff together at the central Murray Bridge location. “The major project for ac.care in Murray Bridge has made it easier for clients to access our services and connect with our diverse programs at one location, including foster care, services for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, family support, Aboriginal programs, financial counselling, emergency relief and other initiatives,” ac.care chief executive Shane Maddocks said. He said ac.care’s main previous site for Murray Bridge on Kennett Road had long posed challenges, including for clients without vehicles who struggled to access the premises for appointments or to collect emergency food relief packages. “There have been many more people dropping by the new office in central Murray Bridge,” Mr Maddocks said. “Having all staff based at one easily accessible, central location makes ac.care more visible so clients know support is available and has enhanced our holistic approach by allowing people to more easily access services from across our range of programs to better meet their needs.”
A key feature of the new Murray Bridge office is a community space where people can seek support and information in a welcoming and non-judgemental area. “Similar centres in Mount Gambier and Berri have long provided a safe place for people to get out of the elements, mix with other people and have the opportunity to become familiar with our staff to not only feel comfortable when finding out more about services, but also gain a sense of connection,” Mr Maddocks said. The area includes access to toilets, food and hot drinks, WiFi, phone charging and communal computer facilities to allow clients to access essential services while visiting the centre. Mr Maddocks said the large office space on Bridge Street also provided flexibility for growth into the future and potential for expanded service delivery to meet growing community needs. The building branding also celebrates the region’s rich Ngarrindjeri heritage and is designed to provide a welcoming space for people of all cultures and abilities.
NEW LOOK: The welcoming entrance to the new ac.care Murraylands Centre.
Art demonstrates commitment to culture
OUR new site in the heart of Murray Bridge has been designed to reflect our respect for Ngarrindjeri culture. We are passionate about acknowledging the land on which we work always was and always will be Aboriginal land. Respect for elders past, present and future and the ongoing connection to country of Aboriginal people is central to our activities and service delivery. Design of the new building at 29 Bridge Street focuses on acknowledging the Murraylands as Ngarrindjeri country through remarkable imagery created by Ngarrindjeri artists, such as Nellie Rankine’s Pondi image and animal designs created by Jordan Lovegrove. The Pondi image featured in ac.care’s first reconciliation action plan document and now adorns the front of the new premises in bold mural style. Our reconciliation action plan artwork from other regions features in the foyer on the walls and welcome counter, demonstrating our commitment to Aboriginal people across our service areas. But we want to go beyond acknowledgement to helping keep these rich cultures alive through sharing of language. Traditional language features in our Murraylands centre with examples including Ngarrindjeri animal words selected as room names staff and visitors are encouraged to learn. Words used throughout the building, including traditional welcomes and farewells, were included in consultation with Ngarrindjeri elders. We hope encouraging visitors to learn and share language builds respect for the culture of the traditional custodians of the land, who have lived in the area for many thousands of years.
LIVING LANGUAGE: Ngarrindjeri animal words feature as room names with accompanying images throughout the ac.care Murraylands Centre, helping keep traditional language of the area alive.
YOUNG Ngarrindjeri artist Jordan Lovegrove designed striking emblematic artwork for our new Murraylands premises, including banner-style images used across external and internal windows featuring traditional-style representations of animals. This work prompted a further partnership with the young artist and his graphic design business Karko Creations, which was also commissioned to develop our Walking Together logo. This was created to feature on polo shirts provided to ac.care staff and volunteers to enhance our presence at community events and other activities. However, the logo, along with banners created for the Murray Bridge building, have been proudly adopted by ac.care as part of our broader branding of the agency, including for this annual report, and as a demonstration of our respect for Aboriginal cultures and people. The banner shows the journey of ac.care with Aboriginal communities and people across South Australia to ensure all country people have a safe home, enough money to live on and strong positive relationships. ac.care is represented by the large blue and orange meeting places at either side of the artwork, while the different Aboriginal communities and people are represented by the smaller meeting places and their journey is shown by the dotted pathway connecting them. The various patterns show the different places and environments across South Australia.
SUPPORTING ARTISTS: Ngarrindjeri artist Jordan Lovegrove created animal banners for our Murray Bridge site and the Walking Together logo to feature on polo shirts worn by ac.care employees, acknowledging our respect for First Nations people of the lands on which we work.