Ipswich families better connected thanks to Community Centre partnership

24 June 2022

Hundreds of households that visit the Redbank Plains Community Centre feel safer, healthier and better connected with their local community and social services, according to a report concluding a multi-year study by council and Multicultural Australia.

Council and the State Government opened the $1.9 million Redbank Plains Community Centre in 2018 and is managed by Multicultural Australia to provide a meeting place for all.

Community, Culture, Arts and Sport Committee Chairperson Councillor Andrew Fechner said the Redbank Plains Community Centre Social Impact Assessment Report has collated three years of data and sentiment from a broad cross-section of the community to best identity the needs of residents.

“This multi-year study has helped shape the Community Centre to now be a valuable meeting place and a responsive hub that provides a range of educative programs and activities for visitors from across the community,” Cr Fechner said.

“However, the report also shows there is still much we as council as well as State and Federal governments must work to address such as public transport challenges.

“Through council’s Community Development Strategy, we are committed to empowering community centres such as at Redbank Plains to collaboratively tackle the problems residents are facing right now as well as those emerging and may affect future generations.”

Deputy Mayor and Division 1 Councillor Jacob Madsen said the Centre provides a range of support programs including youth support, playgroups, information sessions, financial counselling and more.

“Redbank Plains is the largest suburb in Ipswich and is expected to be home to 30,000 people in the next decade, so public facilities such as community centres are going to become even more important to supporting families as our city grows,” Cr Madsen said.

“The Redbank Plains Community Centre is a wonderful and welcoming meeting point to visit and make greater connections across a variety of cultural groups, especially for families new to our city.

“The report identified the importance for continued mental health and emotional wellbeing services, literacy programs, services for job seekers, food relief, youth programs and school outreach.

“Like previous survey results, the report identified safety, public transport as well as health and employment services as areas the community wants to see greater focus to improve.”

Division 1 Councillor Sheila Ireland said the study was conducted through an in-person focus group, tracking of visits to the Centre and periodic community surveys starting in 2019 followed by surveys after six months, 12 months, 24 months and 36 months.

“Redbank Plains is a diverse and multicultural suburb, with around a third of residents born overseas and more than four per cent identify as being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander,” Cr Ireland said.

“Almost half of the Redbank Plains residents who were surveyed during the multi-year study indicated they came from a cultural background other than Australian.

“The report found those who visited the Centre found it to be a safe and accessible space where they can meet and make new friends, learn employment skills and comfortably participate in their community, which has led to improved wellbeing in the community.”

Reported benefits of the Redbank Plains Community Centre to individuals:

  • 91 per cent of people felt the Centre is accessible to all.
  • 88 per cent felt the Centre is a safe space.
  • 79 per cent said they met people from diverse cultures and backgrounds at the Centre.
  • 68 per cent felt the Centre had allowed them to participate more fully in the community.

Most popular programs and activities at the Redbank Plains Community Centre:

  • Community Morning Tea (40 per cent)
  • Community Event such as a movie night (33 per cent)
  • Youth Hub (24 per cent)
  • Volunteering (21 per cent)
  • Meeting space (19 per cent)
  • Knitting Club and English classes (19 per cent)
  • Project Nourish – food hampers from OzHarvest (14 per cent)
  • FutureFIT – employment support program (14 per cent)

Multicultural Australia’s Redbank Plains Community Centre Development Manager Jeril Thomas said their team are delighted to see the results of the third year Social Impact Assessment.

“The partnership with Ipswich City Council has enabled us to provide accessible services, programs and activities that are needed and supported by the community,” Mr Thomas said.

“Although this report signals the end of the three-year Social Impact Assessment process, Multicultural Australia will continue to explore ways of gaining community input for designing our programs and bringing in critical services for the people of Redbank Plains.

“We are proud to see in the assessment findings how the work of the Redbank Plains Community Centre has enabled social connections within the diverse communities in the suburb and look forward to associating with Ipswich City Council for future initiatives.”

Redbank Plains Community Centre is at 180 School Road, Redbank Plains and is open to the community weekdays 9am to 5pm. For more information and view the council report visit Shape Your Ipswich.