Cen­tre cuts con­cerns Ben Smith

COM­MU­NITY CEN­TRE BE­LIEVES FUNDS COULD GO

Comment News (Armadale) - - Comment -

THORNLIE Fam­ily Cen­tre be­lieves lo­cal fam­i­lies will bear the brunt of pro­posed cuts to the com­mu­nity cen­tre sec­tor.

Neigh­bour­hood cen­tres around WA are fac­ing se­vere fund­ing cuts af­ter the Depart­ment of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and Com­mu­ni­ties pro­posed changes to their fund­ing sys­tem.

Wil­liam Lang­ford Com­mu­nity House, in Lang­ford, and Ro­ley­stone Neigh­bour­hood and Ar­madale Com­mu­nity fam­ily cen­tres could also be af­fected by the cuts.

Thornlie Fam­ily Cen­tre co-or­di­na­tor Kristy Campbell said the pro­pos­als were “quite up­set­ting” and be­lieved the lo­cal com­mu­nity would be hit hard­est if they came to fruition.

“It’s not just about the money; it’s about the fact I em­ploy seven lo­cal staff,” she said.

“It af­fects their fam­i­lies if they’re not work­ing. It’s re­ally about where will these peo­ple in the com­mu­nity go.

“A lot of fam­i­lies will say to us ‘it’s our only con­tact with other peo­ple for a week’.

“So the sad part about it is, if we’re not here, where are these peo­ple go­ing to go?

“In this cen­tre alone, we’re cater­ing for Cannington to By­ford and we’re get­ting the num­bers; we can serve over 400 fam­i­lies a week.”

Mrs Campbell said the tight-knit and friendly at­mos­phere was an in­te­gral part of com­mu­nity cen­tres.

“It’s also (about) the per­sonal touches we pro­vide that they don’t get from big­ger ser­vices,” she said.

“It’s the abil­ity we have to sit with them when they’re hav­ing a bad time and point them in the right di­rec­tion to a dif­fer­ent or­gan­i­sa­tion that they don’t get from big places.”

She said the Depart­ment of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and Com­mu­ni­ties wanted to fund less cen­tres and as such they would have to jus­tify why they should con­tinue to re­ceive sup­port.

“They did hold con­sul­ta­tion ses­sions for us, which they im­plied was about us hav­ing a say about how we think this would all work and how it’s go­ing to af­fect us,” she said.

“From a cen­tre’s per­spec­tive, we took it as them telling us ‘this is what’s hap­pen­ing’; there was no con­sul­ta­tion in it.”

A Depart­ment of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and Com­mu­ni­ties spokes­woman said the new fund­ing scheme would pro­vide the same amount of money, but it would now be fil­tered through two dif­fer­ent streams.

“Fund­ing for the new pro­gram is $9.4 mil­lion per year, which is the cu­mu­la­tive bud­get of the for­mer pro­grams,” she said.

“There has been no re­duc­tion in to­tal fund­ing. An open ten­der process will pro­vide fair and eq­ui­table ac­cess to gov­ern­ment fund­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to en­sure the best out­comes are achieved.”

But Linkwest, the peak gov­ern­ing body for neigh­bour­hood and com­mu­nity re­source cen­tres in WA, said the new sys­tem would sig­nif­i­cantly re­strict the fund­ing they were able to of­fer cer­tain cen­tres.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Jane Chilcott said she wanted a re­view of the fund­ing to take place and be­lieved the con­sul­ta­tion ses­sions had not been pro­duc­tive.

“We are ad­vo­cat­ing for what’s hap­pen­ing now to stop and a full re­view to take place,” she said.

Pic­ture: Will Rus­sell d470692

Thornlie Fam­ily Cen­tre co-or­di­na­tor Kristy Campbell.

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