Vinnie’s building revamp
Saturday, 18th July, 2020
By Craig Brealey
The St Vinnie’s building is about to be refurbished to give people needing help the privacy and dignity they deserve, says Leo Woodman, the President of the Wilcannia-Forbes Central Council of St Vincent de Paul Society.
Now anyone who finds themselves in need must walk through the second-hand shop to a room at the back for an interview.
Being seen entering the interview room heightened the sense of shame that some people felt at having to apply for charity but soon they will have another way of seeking assistance, Mr Woodman said.
As part of a $336,465 grant from the Commonwealth, the former men’s shelter two doors down from the shop and next door to the kitchen will be turned into an interview room with its own separate entrance that will rebuilt to accommodate wheelchairs and prams.
It will also be used to store goods for the homeless and the needy. Such misfortune could be caused by anything from losing your job to having to flee domestic violence, said Mr Woodman.
“As we say, everyone is only one pay cheque away from being in need,” he said.
The kitchen, otherwise known as the Bishop Fox Meal Centre, will not change but some of the grant money will be used for improvements.
“This meal centre has been operating for more than 50 years, serving about 35 meals a day, and right through the pandemic,” said Mr Woodman.
“The kitchen will stay but the back of the building will be used for food storage and a training room,” he said.
Mr Woodman said St Vinnies had wanted to make these changes for many years but lacked the money.
“Then the Government opened the grants in December last year and we thought that would be an ideal opportunity to make a start on it.
“The tender has been let to the local Timperio Contractors and it’s ready to go,” he said.
“We thank the Federal Government and our local MP Mark Coulton for helping us to secure this important funding.”
On Thursday Mr Coulton, the Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government, visited St Vinnies where Mr Woodman showed him the plans for the work.
“The Building Better Regions Fund is all about strengthening the local economy and delivering lasting benefits to communities such as Broken Hill,” Mr Coulton said.
“Vinnies’ project will have a hugely positive impact on the local community here in Broken Hill, and I look forward to returning once works are complete.”
Mr Coulton said he was happy to note that the tender had been awarded to a local firm and that meant local jobs and all the materials required would help stimulate the local economy.