Gover­nor and hus­band show artis­tic side

Dubbo Photo News - - News - By LY­DIA PEDRANA

THE GOVER­NOR of NSW Mar­garet Bea­z­ley and her hus­band Mr Den­nis Wil­son weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty when they made a visit to Indige­nous not­for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion, Yar­ruwala Youth and Fam­ily Ser­vice, on Monday.

Her Ex­cel­lency and Mr Wil­son spent about an hour with par­tic­i­pants and sup­port­ers of the ser­vice which strives to pro­vide a path­way for vul­ner­a­ble young peo­ple and adults who want to en­ter the work­force.

Dur­ing the visit, four of the par­tic­i­pants in attendance in­vited the Gover­nor and Mr Wil­son to add their hand print to a mu­ral they had de­signed and cre­ated es­pe­cially for the of­fi­cial visit.

“The mu­ral fea­tures a goanna, which is the totem for the Wi­rad­juri peo­ple, and then they asked them to put their hand print on it in white paint which was a re­ally lovely sen­ti­ment,” YYFS busi­ness man­ager Heidi Spratt told Dubbo Photo News.

“They (the Gover­nor and Mr Wil­son) thought it was a re­ally lovely ges­ture and it gave the boys a bit of own­er­ship over the cer­e­mony and to put their stamp on what could some­times be quite for­mal.”

Fol­low­ing the mu­ral ac­tiv­ity, the Gover­nor and Mr Wil­son were given a tour around the Old Fire Sta­tion, which is now Yar­ruwala’s new home.

They also spent a lengthy

amount of time speak­ing to the Yar­ruwala par­tic­i­pants, get­ting to un­der­stand who they were and what they want to achieve.

“It was just re­ally nice to see some­one of their cal­i­bre take a gen­uine in­ter­est in these boys and find out a bit more about who they are and what their as­pi­ra­tions are,” Ms Spratt said.

“Their main ob­jec­tive re­ally was to get to know those boys and un­der­stand them on a per­sonal level, and find out a lit­tle bit more about what we do and what our chal­lenges and suc­cesses are.”

One of the chal­lenges the ser­vice does face when try­ing to

help par­tic­i­pants tran­si­tion into em­ploy­ment is ob­tain­ing a po­lice check, of­ten be­cause the in­di­vid­u­als sim­ply do not have enough iden­ti­fi­ca­tion to ac­cess the check.

“She was a lit­tle bit blown away by that, so she would like to fa­cil­i­tate some­thing at a very se­nior level for us to look at how we can com­bat that at a lo­cal level,” Ms Spratt said.

“Of course, there is pri­vacy and laws in­volved, but she did say she would pos­si­bly look at fa­cil­i­tat­ing a meet­ing or some­thing with the po­lice com­mis­sioner or his of­fice be­cause it’s an on­go­ing bar­rier to a lot of peo­ple en­ter­ing the work­force.

“It was just some­thing that we men­tioned is pass­ing as be­ing an ob­sta­cle for us and she seemed very will­ing to help us at a high level.”

The YFFS was founded by lo­cal hus­band and wife team Robert “Gummy” and Kara Toomey in Oc­to­ber 2018 af­ter they re­alised that many es­tab­lished job-seek­ing ser­vices and the em­ploy­ment sec­tor were not ef­fec­tively en­gag­ing mem­bers of the Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­nity who of­ten face a myr­iad of bar­ri­ers when at­tempt­ing to at­tain and main­tain em­ploy­ment.

Rather than sim­ply link­ing job seek­ers to an em­ployer, YYFS of­fers a cul­tur­ally safe place where par­tic­i­pants are un­der­stood, nur­tured and taught gen­uine skills to get them work-ready. It’s a tran­si­tional process from un­em­ploy­ment to sus­tain­able em­ploy­ment.

NSW Gover­nor Mar­garet Bea­z­ley with par­tic­i­pants of Yar­ruwala Youth and Fam­ily Ser­vice on Monday. In­set, the mu­ral cre­ated spe­cially for Her Ex­cel­lency’s visit.

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