Or­gan­i­sa­tion plans to take a turn with the mission re­main­ing the same

Stanthorpe Border Post - - FRONT PAGE - SAAVANAH BOURKE

IT may be the end of their wa­ter al­lo­ca­tion days but Gran­ite Belt Drought As­sist will al­ways be there to lend a help­ing hand to their com­mu­nity.

Dur­ing the last nine months Gran­ite Belt Drought As­sist es­ti­mates vol­un­teers have put in over 8000 hours of work.

Co-man­ager Glenda Ri­ley said now it is time to give back to those vol­un­teers, hop­ing to cre­ate a safe space where peo­ple could come and chat about their trou­bles over a cup of cof­fee.

NEW and ex­cit­ing things are in the mak­ing at Gran­ite Belt Drought As­sist, as the or­gan­i­sa­tion pre­pares to take a dif­fer­ent turn.

Co-owner Glenda Ri­ley said while de­tails were still be­ing fi­nalised, their ini­tial mission of sup­port­ing the com­mu­nity wouldn’t change.

“The mission is still the same – this new ven­ture just gives us a bit more of a pur­pose,” Ms Ri­ley said.

“We are go­ing to teach peo­ple how to fish rather than giv­ing them the fish,” she said.

See­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s vol­un­teers “bloom” over the last six months, Ms Ri­ley said it was a light bulb mo­ment for her and co-owner Bar­bara Mars­den.

“We will be more of a men­tal health, so­cial net­work­ing and so­cial well­be­ing plat­form,” Ms Ri­ley said.

“Com­ing in here to vol­un­teer gives them (vol­un­teers) a pur­pose – and we have re­ally no­ticed that they en­joy be­ing in this space.”

“Some­body else is do­ing wa­ter and are do­ing it well so we thought this would be a great path­way for us to con­trib­ute to the com­mu­nity,” Mrs Mars­den said.

Ms Ri­ley said the or­gan­i­sa­tion didn’t plan on tak­ing any­thing away from the other as­sis­tance plat­forms in the re­gion, but to fill in the miss­ing pieces.

“We don’t want to rein­vent the al­ready ex­ist­ing wheel – we want to strengthen it,” Ms Ri­ley said.

“There are gaps for us that we can fill.”

Mrs Mars­den said the new ven­ture would al­low peo­ple to reach out for sup­port in a space they felt more than com­fort­able in.

“We aren’t tar­get­ing a par­tic­u­lar de­mo­graphic,” Mrs Mars­den said.

“We want to be able to help peo­ple help them­selves – gen­uine peo­ple who need the sup­port.

“It will all be done in a stress-free, ca­sual way – just come in and be your­self.”

Ms Ri­ley said the com­mu­nity would be in­formed of more in­for­ma­tion as the ven­ture pro­gressed in the com­ing months.

Pic­ture: Saavanah Bourke

COM­ING SOON: Gran­ite Belt Drought As­sist co-own­ers Glenda Ri­ley and Bar­bara Mars­den.

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