Project gives needy hope

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

Two for­mer Rio Tinto houses are set to be given a makeover as part of a project to turn the lives of marginalised and at-risk com­mu­nity mem­bers around.

Pend­ing fi­nal ap­provals, the Wick­ham com­mu­nity chap­lain is ready to get busy re­fur­bish­ing the prop­er­ties to be­come “pos­i­tive em­pow­er­ment hubs” for men, women and chil­dren who have or are at-risk of slip­ping through the cracks.

A cre­ative arts stu­dio, op shop, yarn­ing cir­cle, and work­shop where any­thing from fur­ni­ture to tra­di­tional arte­facts can be built will be based in the houses, and life skills lessons such as cook­ing will also be hosted, as will reg­u­lar com­mu­nity cook-ups.

Wick­ham com­mu­nity chap­lain Richard Goscombe said the prop­er­ties would be­come a place where peo­ple who had “lost hope” could start to turn their lives around.

“Some­times the shore th­ese peo­ple need to get to to ac­cess op­por­tu­ni­ties is get­ting fur­ther and fur­ther away,” he said.

“What we want to do with th­ese two houses is cre­ate step­ping stones that en­able peo­ple to move from where they are to where they want to be. We want this to be a space they re­ally can take own­er­ship of and have the op­por­tu­nity to build and cre­ate some things that will en­able them to be proud of their com­mu­nity.”

Mr Goscombe said ac­tiv­i­ties avail­able at the houses would help change peo­ple’s at­ti­tudes to­wards them­selves and their com­mu­nity.

“We know there is some­thing re­ally sig­nif­i­cant about to hap­pen in this space and we cant wait,” he said.

Rio Tinto Cape Lam­bert ports gen­eral man­ager Jamie Robin­son said Rio Tinto was proud to sup­port the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

“Rio Tinto is work­ing closely with chap­lain Goscombe to iden­tify suit­able premises for the Mi­cro In­dus­tries project to op­er­ate from in Wick­ham,” he said.

“It’s a com­mend­able project that will fa­cil­i­tate im­prov­ing skills and in­creas­ing con­fi­dence for the longterm un­em­ployed through the pro­posed ac­tiv­i­ties of fur­ni­ture mak­ing, re­tail op shop, cook­ing classes and an arts stu­dio.”

The project was awarded $42,000 un­der the City of Kar­ratha’s an­nual com­mu­nity grants scheme at the June coun­cil meet­ing.

Both houses are ex­pected to be open by early July.

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