So­cial jus­tice hub planned

Pilbara News - - Pilbara News - Ali­cia Per­era

A so­cial jus­tice hub be­lieved to be the first of its kind in WA is be­ing planned for the Kar­ratha city cen­tre.

The Pil­bara Com­mu­nity Le­gal Ser­vice is in the process of de­vel­op­ing the re­gion’s first Com­mu­nity Jus­tice Cen­tre, a new build­ing strate­gi­cally de­signed to house at least 14 lo­cal so­cial ser­vice or­gan­i­sa­tions un­der one roof.

PCLS chief ex­ec­u­tive Nanette Wil­liams said a place which served as a one-stop-shop for peo­ple to have their so­cial, men­tal, and emo­tional is­sues ad­dressed was a longterm dream of hers that was fi­nally be­ing put into mo­tion.

“I just have this vi­sion that any­one can walk in the door and some­thing has hap­pened to change their life, and we can find a way of help­ing them,” she said.

“When some­thing hap­pens in your life that you’re not ex­pect­ing — you’re ren­dered un­em­ployed all of a sud­den and you can’t pay the mort­gage, you can’t pay your bills, or there’s a sud­den re­la­tion­ship break­down and there’s chil­dren in­volved — (peo­ple) be­come over­whelmed, they can’t re­ally see the wood for the trees. They kind of think ‘where do I start?’

“You’ve got a build­ing where health is­sues are dealt with holis­ti­cally. You’ve got a shop­ping cen­tre where you can do all your shop­ping in one place. But we haven’t got a jus­tice cen­tre. We haven’t got any­where you can go when you’re in need, when you’ve got a prob­lem that you want help to solve.

“So let’s have this build­ing that can be part of this cul­tural com­mu­nity ser­vice precinct… right here in the town cen­tre.”

PCLS has so far bought the ex­ist­ing build­ing and land at the old Avis site on Bal­moral Road, de­vel­oped schematic de­signs and artist’s im­pres­sions of the new build­ing and es­tab­lished a build­ing man­age­ment com­mit­tee.

They are in the process of se­cur­ing fund­ing for site works.

Mrs Wil­liams said there was a so­ci­ety-wide move to­wards a more in­te­grated ap­proach to so­cial jus­tice is­sues but she did not know of a whole build­ing ded­i­cated to it any­where else.

“I know com­mu­nity le­gal cen­tres for a long time, al­most 30 years, have been look­ing at this way of de­liv­er­ing ser­vices,” she said. “Al­though it’s been looked at, it’s not been done,” she said.

“Kar­ratha can be a leader in this field — pro­mot­ing in­no­va­tion in the de­liv­ery of so­cial and com­mu­nity ser­vices, bring­ing ben­e­fits to the peo­ple of the Pil­bara.”

Cen­tre pro­ject man­ager Terry Rogers said hav­ing worked with PCLS for the past 10 years, he saw this pro­ject as a nat­u­ral de­vel­op­ment of its growth over that time.

“We’ve had to ex­tend of­fices, we’ve had to par­ti­tion off the of­fices, halve them in size, re­fur­bish the old butcher shop out at Roe­bourne (to cre­ate the PCLS Roe­bourne of­fice),” he said. “So it’s no sur­prise that it’s grown into some­thing now be­cause that’s the way it’s al­ways been.”

Pic­ture: Ali­cia Per­era

PCLS chief ex­ec­u­tive Nanette Wil­liams, cen­tre, and staff Flordeliza Lar­raz­a­bal and Jana Fran­cis with schematic de­signs for the planned Com­mu­nity Jus­tice Cen­tre.

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