It was 1994 at Kate Reynold’s country home in Mt. Pleasant. Around her kitchen table, laden with cakes and cuppa’s, sat some local mothers discussing their day while their children played. This was the first meeting of the Torrens Valley Community Centre, although this humble gathering hadn’t realised it at the time.
Kate, a very active member of the community, recognised a need for people to get together and support each other. The group was growing quickly and later, thanks to Kate’s work, they managed to move out of her kitchen and into the Old School House on the main street of Birdwood.
By 1995 the expanding Torrens Valley Community Centre (TVCC) was being run successfully by a volunteer management committee who sourced funds from government grants and various community activities. The committee was chaired by Councillor Val Hall for 13 years and in that time the centre provided the community with much needed resources, services and a meeting place. Val said the committee soon realised they needed to move once again, and with the help of the local council and a Federal government grant, the Centre moved twice more. First to the Senior Citizens cottage in Gumeracha before finally settling in a purpose built premises at the back of the Gumeracha Town Hall. This brand new building was opened in 2005, equipped with a new kitchen, offices, computer room and a spacious community room for hire.
In July 2008 the hard working management committee handed over the running of the centre to the Adelaide Hills Council as they recognised the need to expand in line with the popularity of the centre within the community. Now headed by Anne Ellis, the Centre’s scope and diversity has exploded into the collective public conscience.
Not only has the location changed from one generous person’s kitchen table, so too the services provided have grown far beyond the original coffee, cakes and chat. The TVCC provides services for all citizens, regardless of age, from both the Torrens Valley and Onkaparinga Valley council wards.
There truly is something for everyone and I do not use this cliché lightly. Pick up a brochure and you will find a multitude of training courses ranging from beginners to advanced, including computing, marketing and personal interests. There are fitness programs catering for all ages and abilities, whilst Line Dancing and Tai Chi classes are available for beginners and experienced alike. A community bus (driven by volunteers) is used to take isolated people shopping or to the hospital for breast-cancer screening, for example. Not to mention the ample School Holiday program, monthly scrapbooking group, Playtime workshops for children 0-5 years, Men’s program, Internet café, taxation assistance, help for families in need, youth programs, concerts and special events. Everything mentioned here will cost you only a nominal fee, due to the funding, backing and grants from many sources. Add to that the fact that all money raised from the Gumeracha “Oppe Shoppe” goes to TVCC programs for young people (ages 0-25).
Anne says the centre connects the community to services, resources and environments they may never have been involved with otherwise. Behind the scenes are a group of dedicated volunteer’s who donate their time and abilities to keep this place ticking. The centre provides an extensive volunteer training program / in which you can gain education, experience and fulfilment. As Anne puts it, “it’s a win-win situation, everyone is happy”.
For more information, an Open Night will be held on Tuesday 12th May from 5-7pm at the Torrens Valley Community Centre with a sausage sizzle, tea and cakes available. There is ample parking at the centre (behind the Gumeracha Town Hall on Albert Street). If you can’t make it, you can also visit their website on www.torrensvalleycc.org.au or phone the friendly staff on 8389 1711.
Children at the Art Workshop during the school
holiday program, holding up their creations.