Do we even have an impact?
Updated: Nov 6
Impact, for most people, may refer to a car crash or an asteroid hitting the Earth. But in community development, impact is the currency we trade on, it’s how we prove our worth as a community organisation and measure the change we are able to make in the world.
As a very small non-profit community organisation – not affiliated with the Town of Vic Park! – our Centre has been considering our impact very carefully over the last 18 months. That’s when a whole heap of new people came into our board and staff, and we became a bit more strategic about how we go about being a community centre. We updated our strategic vision and just recently made this awesome snapshot to present, in a visual way, a bit of the impact we’ve generated.
Many of you have heard of the Vic Park Community Centre but have not been to our venue in East Vic Park, tucked away in a corner of the Leisurelife facility.
That’s because we split our work in two, work we do in our building and out of our building. In the building, we support community members and groups who use our space to do a heap of good stuff, and then we venture outside the building to create social capital in the wide world of Vic Park.
As the impact star on our snapshot shows, the programs outside the building are really well received and are creating connection, inclusion, learning, confidence and contributing to a healthy community. Above all else, people tell us they are happy our initiatives are happening here in Vic Park.
Our work in the building remained consistent even with the Covid-19 shutdown. We had 15,500 unique service users in one year!!
Something that really amazed us was the speed at which people started booking the venue again after the shutdown. Anecdotally, we found that after the short lockdown we had in WA, people were feeling isolated and had time to reevaluate their priorities. We saw new social groups startup, and our regular groups come back with gusto. If you'd like to know about our regular groups, you can find them here.
As part of strategic vision, we want to reframe the idea of 'Community Centre', and part of that is having a consistent, online presence. Our social media reach has expanded significantly in the last financial year, and since the end of the financial year, it has grown even further. We communicate a lot through these channels; we're on Facebook, Instagram, Eventbrite and Linkedin. Leave a comment if your think we should be on any others (tik tok has come up in some conversations)?
We are really proud to be running a model that recognises we are not experts in everything and therefore we partner with as many organisations as possible. This year we had 17 organisational partners for events, and there were heaps more social service providers we partnered with for advocacy and covid 19 related responses. You can read about some of the events we did with our partners on our blog.
If you're in a local business, non-profit or interest group, please reach out because we'd love to work with you too.
Last year, in addition to our volunteer board, we ran all our programs with the equivalent of one staff member employed across three part-time workers. So are very small, but our heart is big, and hopefully so is our impact.
To bring you into an open secret, our Centre only has funding until June 30, 2021 and if the Town, State Government or other funders don't come to the party soon, we won't have a community centre at all.
This is a brief version of what's going on at the Centre, if you want to know more, you can click here to find our big report.
Funding is pretty important and a big validation of our work. But your support and participation are what we work for, so if you’re keen to let us know – privately or publicly – how you have been “impacted” by the work we do, please do so! It will put a big smile on our faces and encourage us to keep applying for funding.
And if you are able to tell people about us, ask a councillor why the community centre doesn't get funded, that helps too! Together we make a community.