The South Australian Centre for Economic Studies recently completed a review of the role and impact of 107 local Community Centres to the economic and social vitality of the State. The report finds that there were 2.1 million contacts to Community Centres in 2012 or 43,000 attendances at the centres each week. The Centre has estimated that the value of up to some 5,600 volunteers contributing up to 29,000 hours of volunteering work each week was in the order of $43 million per year. The report finds that the value of crèche services used per year is in excess of $1.3 million and that it is these types of services that help young struggling families and migrants with children to access learning and skill development programs.
Community Centres play a vital role in re-engaging local communities back into education and skills development programs, in Adult Education and the teaching of literacy and numeracy, including assisting hundreds of new migrants and refugees gain the skills and confidence to enter the workplace.
Community Centres are an undervalued asset with a significant capacity to contribute to meeting the challenge of state-wide improvements in literacy and numeracy and the development of the South Australian workforce. The network of Community Centres provides current economic and social benefits, but also contains the seeds of intergenerational benefits as well.