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Making a difference in Melbourne’s West Metro Region – the Community Work Program

Making a difference in Melbourne’s West Metro Region – the Community Work Program


If I was talking to someone about getting
involved with the Community Work Program and the benefits of that, I’d be talking about
how easy it is to run and maintain, and the benefits it gives to the entire organisation.
The community work team are great to deal with, the offenders are great to work with
on site, and the productivity you get out of the program, and being involved with the
community work program, is just absolutely amazing. The Community Work Program is a program designed
to assist non-profit organisations in the community. The idea is that we are able to
send out people who are ordered by the courts to perform community work. Some of our projects
are achieving great results where we are achieving outcomes that potentially wouldn’t be achieved
without our assistance. We are also assisting with reintegration of offenders back into
the community, so we are making a difference within the community. The Community Work Program project that we
are involved with is the A Gesture program, so what we do is we have offenders come out
to our site, they participate in education and training, and sort through our food for
us and participate in our food programs. A lot of the agencies we give to range from
school programs so kids who aren’t getting breakfast in the morning, we are providing
food to lots of local schools, to people who are under mortgage stress and things like
that. So we find a lot of the certificates and qualifications
and work experience that they gain here actually really do help them in the community. So a
lot of the offenders we’ve had on the program have gone out to get jobs and work in wharehouses
based on the skills they’ve got here. I facilitate the Soft Toy program, and we
have a bunch of women who come along every week who hand stitch soft toys. And I think
just the fact that all the toys that the women make are going to really worthy causes it
just encourages the women to try just that little bit harder because they feel really
good that the work they’re doing is going back into the community. They’re actually
taking responsibility and learning about responsibility in itself so they’re becoming better members
of society because they’re contributing. Another beautiful thing about the soft toy program
is the women learn so many new skills. They’re learning those skills that necessary for them
to become job ready and I think as a result of that the community becomes a safer place.
The main benefit of getting involved with Corrections as a community partner is that
you might have some really good ideas but they’ll help you to put those ideas into place.
You’ve actually got a whole structured organisation behind you all the way so as you are setting
up, as you are actually running your program there’s always people to talk to. The types of projects that are suitable for
community work partners or potential partners are projects like litter removal, graffiti
removal, projects like refurbishing bicycles to donate to the community, there’s a lot
of different projects and varying ideas that potentially we could work on with potential
partners. If we didn’t have the community workers from
the community work program we would not have got through the work that we’ve done. They
do a wonderful job and they’re very relaxed after they’ve been with us a few weeks. I
think that helps them as they realise we’re trying to help them move on in their life.
And they’re very good workers, they do such a good job. I’d recommend them to anybody. The main benefits from the program, I find,
is that the offenders are getting practical skills whilst being able to contribute back
to the community. The offenders are able to develop bike skills, practical hands on skills
which can also be applied to various areas such as automotive repair. And as the weeks
are progressing we’re finding that a lof of them are developing quite an aptitude for
the different skills, and also these bikes are previously abandoned bikes so it avoids
these bikes going into waste. If you are interested in partnering with the
community work program all you have to do is give us a call, we’ll arange a time to
come out and have a chat with you about the project and hopefully make any idea or potential
project a reality.

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