COMMUNITY HUB FOR WILLMOT IN THE WORKS
PLAN TO REVITALISE PUBLIC SPACE IN WILLMOT CLOSER TO FRUITION
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.