Axe falls on cen­tre fund­ing

Southern Gazette (Belmont) - - NEWS - Na­dia Budi­hardjo

A BEL­MONT com­mu­nity cen­tre and its pop­u­lar art classes face un­cer­tain fu­tures af­ter a fund­ing cut was re­vealed just weeks be­fore Christ­mas.

Jacaranda Com­mu­nity Cen­tre re­ceives its fund­ing from the Abo­rig­i­nal Fam­ily Sup­port and School In­clu­sion pro­gram un­der the Indige­nous Ad­vance­ment Strat­egy, which ends on De­cem­ber 31.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Lyn­d­sey Fitzger­ald said no eval­u­a­tion or re­search was done be­fore she was told in mid-Novem­ber that fund­ing would not con­tinue.

Ms Fitzger­ald said she was of­fered a six-month tran­si­tional or ex­ten­sion pe­riod to move mem­bers and vol­un­teers else­where.

“They’re not toys or fur­ni­ture to be moved around, they’re peo­ple,” she said.

The cen­tre of­fers art and craft pro­grams, such as its In­ter­na­tional Day of Peo­ple with Dis­abil­ity art ex­hi­bi­tion last Wed­nes­day. Artist-in-res­i­dence Sh­eryl Chant said the dis­played works were cre­ated dur­ing the Wed­nes­day art classes this past year.

“I try do ac­tiv­i­ties that ev­ery­one can do, so they’re in­clu­sive,” she said.

“At the mo­ment the art class is so pop­u­lar we’ve had to cap it at about 15 to 20 peo­ple and we’ve got a wait­list for next year, which is de­pen­dent on fund­ing.”

Ms Fitzger­ald said the art pro­gram was to show­case the so­cial in­clu­sion for all par­tic­i­pants liv­ing with or with­out any dis­abil­ity.

“So­cial in­clu­sion pro­grams don’t seem to get sup­port or fund­ing,” she said.

Ms Fitzger­ald said she would keep fight­ing for fund­ing but asked the pub­lic to help it pro­vide for fam­i­lies.

“Food short­age is wide­spread and it’ll be wide­spread for Christ­mas as well,” she said.

Food can be dropped off at Jacaranda Com­mu­nity Care on Ep­som Av­enue, Bel­mont, or call 9477 4346.

Artist-in-res­i­dence Sh­eryl Chant dis­play­ing ‘squig­gle pots’ with art class par­tic­i­pants Jac­qui Car­ring­ton and Bar­bara Wil­liams.

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