AC Care will occupy former newsagency building on Murray Bridge's main street

AC Care chief executive Shane Maddocks visits the site of the organisation's new Murray Bridge office on Bridge Street. Photo: AC Care.
AC Care chief executive Shane Maddocks visits the site of the organisation's new Murray Bridge office on Bridge Street. Photo: AC Care.

Social welfare agency AC Care is crossing the bridge and consolidating its Murraylands services in the heart of Murray Bridge.

The not-for-profit agency will close its main office on Kennett Road, Murray Bridge East later this year and relocate to the former newsagency and toy shop at 29 Bridge Street, improving access for people seeking help from the organisation.

Staff from AC Care's Aboriginal services building on Adelaide Road, and its Nairne office, will also be based at the new site, bringing foster care, family support, homelessness services and other initiatives under one roof.

AC Care chief executive Shane Maddocks said the organisation had wanted to make it easier for its diverse client base to access its services and connect with its programs.

He said the existing Kennett Road site had long posed many challenges, especially for clients without vehicles who had struggled to come and collect emergency food relief packages.

"People will be able to drop in to the new office while in central Murray Bridge for other reasons, as the site is close to various government department offices and service centres," Mr Maddocks said.

"Having all staff based at one easily accessible, central location will make AC Care more visible, so clients know support is available, and it will enhance our holistic approach by allowing people to more easily access services from across our range of programs to better meet their needs."

A key feature of the new Murray Bridge office will be a welcoming, non-judgmental community space where people from all cultures, and of all abilities, can seek support and information.

The area will include emergency food relief, WiFi, phone charging and communal computer facilities to allow clients to access essential services.

"Similar centres we operate in Mount Gambier and Berri have provided a safe place for people to get out of the elements, meet with our staff and fellow clients to not only seek services, but also a sense of connection, which is vital for wellbeing," Mr Maddocks said.

Mr Maddocks said AC Care would also continue to support existing central facilities, such as the Murray Bridge Community Centre, while working in partnership with other agencies to expand the availability and accessibility of social services.

The agency's consolidation of its office space and resources will provide a more sustainable economic model, delivering long-term savings that will allow AC Care to focus on service delivery.

The size of the space will also give it the potential to grow or expand its services to meet future community needs.

"There is a lot of excitement within the agency and our program partners around consolidating our three offices at one site so our more than 35 staff can work more closely together to service the Murray Bridge, Murraylands, Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula areas via the central hub and through outreach programs," Mr Maddocks said.

"Social issues such as the need for more safe homes for children in state care and rising homelessness rates are sadly not going away, but by better positioning ourselves to serve the region, we hope to increase our impact in line with our mission.

"We want all country people to have a safe home, enough money to live on and strong, positive relationships."

Murray Bridge mayor Brenton Lewis welcomed AC Care's announcement.

"Moving into a prime location on Bridge Street will not only ensure the services provided by AC Care are now more accessible for those in need, but will also add to the business and services mix on the street," he said.

Construction is expected to take around eight weeks and be completed in November, allowing for opening of the new site at the start of December.