Cen­tre gets big re­vamp

COM­MU­NITY RAL­LIES TO HELP

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Jenny Gal­braith For more in­for­ma­tion on the cot­tage visit gracead­e­scot­tage.org.au

PEO­PLE from across Syd­ney rolled up their sleeves on the week­end to give Bid­will’s com­mu­nity drop-in cen­tre Graceadas Cot­tage a makeover.

In the wake of the SBS doc­u­men­tary Strug­gle St, which fo­cused on the Mt Druitt area, do­na­tions have poured in from view­ers want­ing to help the work of the cen­tre.

Ra­dio sta­tion 2GB ral­lied be­hind the cen­tre and put the call out for do­na­tions and trades­peo­ple to re­fur­bish parts of the cen­tre that needed work.

The cot­tage’s pro­gram de­vel­op­ment worker, Ivanka Pe­likan, said staff were over­whelmed with the sup­port they had re­ceived.

“I haven’t stopped cry­ing. I’m so happy for the com­mu­nity to have some­thing nice,” she said.

“It was about mak­ing the place run bet­ter.”

The cot­tage re­ceived a brand-new kitchen, shelv­ing, cup­boards, new lights, airconditioning, tele­vi­sions, com­put­ers and blinds.

The back area was dug up and proper drainage was fit­ted to stop the con­stant flood­ing.

“I don’t have a wet of­fice any­more. I would walk in the door and my cup­boards would be sat­u­rated. You don’t know how many shoes I went through,” Ms Pe­likan said.

The fence was also moved to give the cot­tage a big­ger yard, gar­den beds with flow­ers were do­nated and new benches were con­structed.

The front path­way was also re­laid with ce­ment by Mt Druitt’s Pro­duc­tiv­ity Boot­camp to make it safer for clients.

Cot­tage man­ager Pa­tri­cia Formosa said while Strug­gle

St had been neg­a­tive for some in the com­mu­nity, it had also trig­gered an out­pour­ing of gen­eros­ity.

“We were in­ci­den­tal in the story but so many great things have flowed from it. It just re­stores your faith in hu­man na­ture,” she said.

“Peo­ple from Asquith, the north shore and up the moun­tains have come here and brought stuff and said they never re­ally thought about why peo­ple end up strug­gling, and they’ve seen what we do and know if they bring stuff here we re­ally make sure it gets to the peo­ple who need it.”

The cot­tage has an open­door pol­icy and pro­vides recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties, coun­selling and out­reach for trou­bled young­sters and adults.

Pic­tures: PETER KELLY

Lynda Mur­phy and Ivanka Pe­likan at the re­fur­bished Graceadas Cot­tage, which has new planter beds, cup­boards and a kitchen, among other works.

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