The sense of belonging, in local Western Australian communities, is being boosted by a $685,000 State Government package to reduce social isolation.
Family and Community Development Minister Eric Ripper said today the package would increase services for people in outer suburbs and distant country areas.
Mr Ripper today gave details of the expansion - flagged in the Government's $179 million Social Advantage package - while officially opening the new premises of the Queens Park Community Link and Network (CLAN) in the Queens Park Neighbourhood Centre.
"This expansion is all about providing practical support and assistance to families, parents and children," Mr Ripper said.
"Social isolation can lead to other serious community problems, and these facilities, developed in close co-operation with specific local communities, aim to provide people with a sense of belonging and security."
The Minister said $440,000 was allocated to create eight new Community and Neighbourhood Houses, to substantially upgrade another and to increase funding to all existing facilities. This included $90,000 for expanded creches and would bring to about 40, the number of Community and Neighbourhood Houses which operated across the State.
Community and Neighbourhood Houses, funded by the Department for Community Development's Family Support Program, provided a range of educational, recreational and personal growth activities for families and individuals. These were developed by local people for specific local needs and included parent support groups, counselling services, child care, homework programs and toy exchanges.
Mr Ripper said $240,000 had been allocated to create five new Community Links and Networks (CLANs). This included $45,000 to the Queens Park CLAN to provide support and expertise for other CLANs.
CLANs co-ordinated, selected and trained volunteers to support socially-isolated families, with children, teaching parenting skills and connecting them with local support services.
Mr Ripper said the package funded new Neighbourhood House staff and services in the metropolitan area at the:
· South Lakes Family Centre;
· Frank Konecny Family Centre, Kwinana;
· Armadale Family Centre;
· Two Rocks/Yanchep Neighbourhood Centre.
Other new services were funded in the country at the:
· Spalding Family Centre, Geraldton;
· Ngaringga Ngurra, Halls Creek;
· Karingal Neighbourhood Centre, Paraburdoo;
· Newman Community Care Council.
The Koondoola Neighbourhood Centre received funding to upgrade it to a Community House.
Mr Ripper said the CLANs funding would go to groups in Queens Park, Midland, Perth's northern suburbs, Armadale and Mandurah.
"CLANs will generally be located within Community and Neighbourhood Houses and these centres have a vital role as focal points in the community," Mr Ripper said.
"People who feel personally isolated in the outer suburbs, or in distant country regions, can be assured that a broad range of assistance and support is available at these facilities and through the department."