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New hub for community engagement

New hub for community engagement

The newly opened Freeling Hub Community Centre, opened on September 2, received $60,000 in funding, which will allow the centre to create a space for community engagement and help individuals or families in the area who struggle with social isolation. 

The Freeling Centre is a sister hub to the Gawler Community House. The project has taken three years for it to finally get off the ground.

Ms Heather Barry, house co-ordinator at Gawler Community House, said that, “Because Freeling was an expanding town, there was very little when it came to social development.

“Three years ago we applied for funding. We used to have people coming down from Freeling for playgroups because there weren’t any playgroups here at the time.

“If you weren’t in a school or club, then there wasn’t much for you to do… People here were just socially isolated with no transport.”

The hub will be a place of community engagement. There will be programmes and groups for all ages.

This includes adult education, like learning to use a basic computer, literacy and numeracy, cooking, and other activities that they hope will grow with volunteers.

Heather hopes that through these activities people will be able to get to know each other a lot better and integrate into the Freeling society.

Mayor Bill O’Brien, Light Regional Council, who attended the grand opening event, said that he is very excited that this hub has been established in Freeling.

“I think it’s wonderful, something unique to our region. Freeling is a growing town and people can’t get to know everybody. They can’t meet people and engage,” said Mayor O’Brien.

“This hub can break down barriers for those socially isolated and engage the community.

“I hope the council will be able to help in someway. If we want to see these things develop we need to support it.”

The hub is open 24/7 with one part time co-ordinator available on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Ms Karen Turner, the new Freeling Hub Co-ordinator, is excited for the Freeling area to have this facility and is already having people and groups approaching her about hosting a range of activities.

Mr Stephen Frinsdorf, president of the Gawler Community Centre Board, said that he was also excited that the Freeling Community had the facility.

He hopes that the hub will be catering for 80-90 people per week, with the Gawler Centre having 1,000 visiting a week.

“We have been open in Gawler since 1980… We are always looking for things to do. If the town needs it, then we want to supply it,” said Stephen.

The Freeling Hub will be a good place for new residents to meet people in the area and for community members to share ideas and skills with others in need.

By Elizabeth Alderslade