Hackham West Community Centre

What they do:

Hackham West Community Centre (“Centre”) is located in a suburb of Adelaide, Australia that has the highest density of public housing in the state of South Australia, and the region’s highest unemployment rate and highest proportion of single parents.

Within this context the Centre operates or hosts over 50 different community empowerment programs, including adult literacy, counseling on parental, financial and family matters, a variety of children’s programs and a food cooperative. Programs are identified and developed by local residents according to community need, and are largely volunteer run.

What we funded:

Silverton grants have provided pilot funding to underwrite two innovative programs at the Centre: “Count Me In” and “Safe and Sound”, as well as expansion funding for a collaboration between the Centre and a community program known as the “Shed”.

“Count Me In”

This program targets children of Primary School age (5-12 years) who are chronically excluded from school by suspension due to behavioral issues. Hackham West’s school exclusions are four times higher than anywhere else in the region.

The public education system provides intensive support services for chronically excluded students aged 13 and up, but nothing for children under that age. By the time the target group of the “Count Me In” program reaches adolescence they are all but impossible to engage. They face long term unemployment and, in most cases, interface with the juvenile justice system.

“Count Me In” is a community based alternative education program, conducted through the engagement of superior tutors and community mentors, to ensure that these children who currently fall through the education “net” receive an education while they are “school excluded”.  It is hoped that this program will challenge current unsuccessful outcomes for this group of children and develop into a model for the State to consider.

“Safe and Sound”

This initiative provides a playgroup in a community setting (i.e. not a women’s refuge or health service) for children of women who are experiencing domestic violence, and who are unable or unwilling to access traditional services to break the cycle of violence. Through collaborations, a trained domestic violence worker will attend the playgroup to provide information, support, referral and advice in a non-threatening manner.

“The Shed”

The Shed is a men’s space in Hackham West originally designed for early retirees, veterans, men with disabilities and health problems to meet and repair toys for children in the area. The Shed is linking with other community groups and reaching out to young men in risk of leaving school. Through a collaboration with the Centre, students in the “Count Me In” program will be linked with volunteers at the Shed, with the goal of sending a message to the students that older people are interested in them and that the community values them.