Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Alison Bald­ing

WORK has be­gun to breathe new life into the Will­mot Com­mu­nity Hub but the pas­sion­ate team be­hind the trans­for­ma­tion needs help.

The front out­door awning is crum­bling, the badly-van­dalised garage door is held in place by nails, the gar­dens are dead and the front light needs re­plac­ing.

The kitchen fa­cil­i­ties are dated, but us­able, and the build­ing has never had air­con­di­tion­ing.

De­spite the ob­sta­cles, Graceades Cottage pro­gram devel­op­ment worker Ivanka Pe­likan has a grand plan to trans­form the site into a safe haven, as she has done at her Bid­will head­quar­ters.

She hopes to get the in­ter­net and a phone con­nected and em­ploy some­one to en­sure the site is open to the com­mu­nity full-time. But to do this she needs vol­un­teers, sup­plies and money.

“If we have the ma­te­ri­als I have vol­un­teers who can do the work,” Mrs Pe­likan said.

“To get the phone and in­ter­net con­nected, fix a few dif­fer­ent things and em­ploy a full-time worker, I reckon we need to try and raise about $100,000.”

Chi­fley fed­eral La­bor MP Ed Hu­sic said he would do what­ever he could to help make it hap­pen. “I am keen to see what I can do to help Graceades to spread their wings and help the Will­mot com­mu­nity,” Mr Hu­sic said.

He en­cour­aged res­i­dents to pitch in where pos­si­ble.

“The more peo­ple who can chip in the bet­ter — ev­ery lit­tle bit counts,” he said.

His of­fice has con­firmed Tel­stra has been con­tacted in the hope of fast-track­ing the phone and in­ter­net con­nec­tions with the rel­e­vant dis­counts ap­plied.

Com­pletely moved and in­spired by the sup­port given to Graceades Cottage af­ter SBS aired Strug­gle

Street, Mrs Pe­likan has a re­newed will to achieve the vi­sion she once shared with a col­league who died af­ter a battle with can­cer.

Maria Arama worked with the Bid­will Unit­ing Church as a hous­ing com­mu­ni­ties pro­gram worker be­fore she died in June 2013.

“Maria and I of­ten talked about build­ing this com­mu­nity hub up and giv­ing the Will­mot com­mu­nity what we have at Graceades Cottage,” Mrs Pe­likan said.

Steps to­wards the grand plan have al­ready started tak­ing place.

Graceades has po­si­tioned it­self as the lead­ing agency in con­trol of the hub, leased from the Holy Fam­ily Church. Pest con­trols have been done to rid the site of ro­dents and cock­roaches.

In com­ing weeks, a fence will be in­stalled to pro­tect the build­ing from late-night van­dals and rub­bish dumpers.

Men’s Shed vol­un­teers have paved the back area us­ing do­nated bricks and will hold a num­ber of work­ing bees to con­struct a per­gola and seat­ing in the front with tim­ber do­nated by St Marys­based Meyer Tim­ber NSW.

The vol­un­teers will also up­date gar­dens, with plans to brighten up the fa­cade. To help call 9628 2045.


Com­mu­nity ad­vo­cate Ivanka Pe­likan is try­ing to breathe new life into Will­mot’s hub (be­low) and (inset) her in­spi­ra­tion Maria Arama.

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