Struggle Street back in spotlight
AS SBS announced a second season of Struggle Street last week, the Mt Druitt community reflected on the impact of the first airing which was unpopular at the time but now thought to have reaped positive outcomes.
The controversial show, which focused on the lives of people around Mt Druitt, has been commissioned for a second season by SBS despite criticism over the first season.
Ivanka Pelikan, from community hub Graceades Cottage at Bidwill, said the show sparked more donations and volunteers for their programs even though it didn’t portray the characters in a positive light.
Last year’s season showcased public housing residents Corey Kennedy, Bob and Billie Jo.
The next season of the show will be expanded into a six-episode run and will focus on disadvantaged communities in Victoria and Queensland.
While the show wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, Ms Pelikan said there was some positives.
“A lot of people who came here and donated their time on a working bee wouldn’t have come around without that show,” she said.
“We have had more people volunteer because of the show and more donations of furniture, food and clothes.”
Ms Pelikan featured in a few minutes of the show, but says she’d never go further than showing what she does at work for television.
“Two of the clients that were on the show at the cottage were already with us; we were helping them already,’’ she said.
“For me personally, I wouldn’t put my own story out there, but a work story is different.”
According to Ms Pelikan, television could do a better job of portraying the good that is done by people in disadvantaged communities.
“There are people that have lived in this area for a long time and have done some great things,’’ she said.
“It doesn’t matter where you live these days, there’s good and bad in every suburb.
“There are great stories and people out here that have worked their hearts out – started school canteens off and done other things.”
While Ms Pelikan says she can’t tell others how to behave, she did have a warning for those in Victoria and Queensland thinking of participating in Struggle Street.
She warned participants to be mindful of what they said in front of the cameras, if they didn’t want to be portrayed in a particular light.
“What you say will be televised,’’ she said.
“If you want to say certain things and do certain things, then how do you expect the whole of Australia, or world, to react?”
Blacktown Mayor Stephen Bali called Struggle
Street last year “just another trash reality program” and asked SBS not to air the “poverty porn”.
Garbage trucks organised by Blacktown Council drove by SBS offices in protest.