Centre gets big revamp
COMMUNITY RALLIES TO HELP
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.
Lynda Murphy and Ivanka Pelikan at the refurbished Graceadas Cottage, which has new planter beds, cupboards and a kitchen, among other works.