Funds build­ing stronger com­mu­ni­ties

Dubbo Photo News - - News - BY NATALIE HOLMES JOUR­NAL­IST

TWO lo­cal projects as­sist­ing wor­thy groups are among the re­cip­i­ents in the Stronger Com­mu­nity Grants pro­gram run by Dubbo Re­gional Coun­cil.

Orana Sup­port Ser­vice Inc will re­ceive $23,500 to ex­pand its West Dubbo Project. CEO Peter Gal­lagher ex­plained that they are the spe­cial­ist home­less­ness ser­vice in the Dubbo, Welling­ton and Nar­romine ar­eas.

“We pro­vide a ser­vice for clients who are at risk of be­com­ing home­less. We also man­age Sturt House and the Dubbo Women’s Refuge as well as tran­si­tion hous­ing for clients.

Their West Dubbo Project fo­cuses on as­sist­ing dis­ad­van­taged young peo­ple by pro­vid­ing an af­ter-school space along with a healthy snack.

Cur­rently it runs on two af­ter­noons a week be­tween 3pm and 4.30pm.

“The West Dubbo Project is a project to en­gage school-aged chil­dren in the West Dubbo area,” Mr Gal­lagher ex­plained.

“It’s a com­mu­nity ser­vice which they can use, with fund­ing pro­vided by Fam­ily and Com­mu­nity Ser­vices NSW for the ex­ist­ing pro­gram.”

The group gives the kids some struc­ture out­side of school and helps them per­form bet­ter in school, thereby im­prov­ing their lives over­all.

“It’s about en­gag­ing the kids and pro­vid­ing some shred of hope,” Mr Gal­lagher said.

“The ev­i­dence that Apollo House has col­lected shows that there are gains in trust and gains in be­hav­iour and at­ten­dance at school.”

The gov­ern­ment fund­ing will make a huge dif­fer­ence and will al­low Orana Sup­port Ser­vice to in­crease the pro­gram’s num­ber of days each week.

Mr Gal­lagher de­scribed the grant as a sub­stan­tial boost.

“We are very ex­cited about it and hope to ex­pand by dou­bling the amount of time we spend (with the chil­dren). It’s cer­tainly a wind­fall for us.”

“It’s an ex­er­cise in pro­vid­ing a ser­vice to the com­mu­nity and ev­ery cent will go back into the com­mu­nity.”

With the fund­ing, the or­gan­i­sa­tion aims to have an ac­tiv­i­ties of­fi­cer work­ing with the chil­dren ev­ery week day.

“What we hope to pro­vide is more em­ploy­ment with the money which will pro­vide more ser­vices for the kids.”

Mr Gal­lagher hopes to im­prove the lives of af­fected kids, pro­vid­ing bet­ter out­comes all round.

“The ul­ti­mate goal is to im­prove be­hav­iour, im­prove at­ti­tudes at school and im­prove nu­tri­tion as we pro­vide fruit and water each day.”

Above all, Mr Gal­lagher would love to bring about so­cial change as a re­sult of the pro­gram. “I hope to break the cy­cle,” he said. “For these kids, be­ing dis­ad­van­taged is gen­er­a­tional. Their par­ents are do­ing the same thing as their par­ents were be­fore them.”

“We would like to achieve bet­ter out­comes for the com­mu­nity.”

An­other group which will ben­e­fit from the fund­ing is the Buniny­ong Con­ver­sa­tional English Playgroup which is op­er­ated from the Buniny­ong School as Com­mu­nity Cen­tre.

The $7500 was sought un­der the aus­pices of Em­manuel Care, a lo­cal char­ity which sup­ports the com­mu­nity through its care cen­tre and Chris­tian val­ues.

Em­manuel Care Cen­tre as­sis­tant man­ager Rod Boland was happy that the fund­ing would be used by a very wor­thy group.

“We are very pleased to re­ceive the fund­ing but it’s not ours.

“It will be well-utilised by a group of peo­ple in get­ting them more in­volved in English (speak­ing) in the com­mu­nity. I couldn’t imag­ine mov­ing to a country or com­mu­nity where you didn’t speak the ver­nac­u­lar.”

Buniny­ong SACC fa­cil­i­ta­tor Lorna Bren­nan said the need for a group grew from the num­bers of non-english speak­ing par­ents at­tend­ing one of her reg­u­lar playgroup ses­sions.

“I have no­ticed this year that the per­cent­age of non-english speak­ers com­ing to playgroup has gone from 4-5 per cent to well over 20 per cent,” she said. “It’s the chang­ing face of Dubbo.” Playgroup par­ents are hail­ing from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, In­dia, Nepal, Malaysia, Viet­nam and Egypt.

Many of them are on 489 visas and re­quired to live in a re­gional area for two years be­fore they can ap­ply for per­ma­nent res­i­dency.

With ac­cess to ser­vices and their lan­guage skills lim­ited, the playgroup par­ents seized the op­por­tu­nity to learn and a break­away group of about a dozen mums formed in July to prac­tice con­ver­sa­tional English ev­ery week.

“So many are com­ing to playgroup reg­u­larly that my play­groups are get­ting big­ger and big­ger but they haven’t got the con­fi­dence speak­ing English,” Ms Bren­nan said.

“I felt that if I could give them the sup­port they needed, it would help. I asked if I could of­fer them a group, they all said they would like to prac­tice speak­ing English.”

The fund­ing will be used to em­ploy an ESL teacher to as­sists the group.

“We have some­one who vol­un­teers her time but she’s very busy. We thought if we could pay her to come and also get some re­sources, it would pro­vide some help and en­able them to get fur­ther.”

Ms Bren­nan is thrilled to be as­sist­ing the mi­grants on their jour­ney to­wards speak­ing flu­ent English. “It’s re­ally ex­cit­ing,” she said. “It’s been won­der­ful for me. I love meet­ing all these new peo­ple.” for

Al­to­gether, Dubbo Re­gional Coun­cil al­lo­cated $350,000 in fund­ing to 23 com­mu­nity groups and not-for profit or­gan­i­sa­tions.

The grants ranged in value from al­most $1700 for Welling­ton Am­a­teur The­atri­cal So­ci­ety’s pur­chase of re­place­ment cloth­ing racks to more than $38,000 the water sup­ply scheme at Eucha­reena.

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