Beauties visit local charity
Friday, 2nd May, 2008
Raising awareness of the important work they perform in a community is often a constant a struggle for charities. So when a couple of Miss Australia finalists offered to help lift the profile of Picton Plants and Oasis Desert Lavender, the answer was obvious.
The nursery, which is owned by Silverlea Incorporated, a not-for-profit organisation, is the only Broken Hill business funded by the Federal Government to employ people with a disability.
Personnel manager, Angela Harvey, said staff worked in a range of areas of the business, which is also involved in the manufacturing of aircooler pads.
She said the business, which can only employ people who receive the disability support pension, received funding for a maximum of 32 places.
"So we're hear for people who can't work in open employment for one reason or another.
"It's quite often a stepping stone for people ... it just gives them an idea of a work place."
While giving people with a disability the opportunity to earn a wage and gain skills was the main aim of the program, Mrs Harvey said just as important was the "social network" it provided.
"It's all these things that for some people that are very socially isolated (are important). It's more than just a job."
But the business has struggled to attract females, which Mrs Harvey said could be partly due to the type of work involved.
"We always have a high ratio of males to females."
Visiting beauties Victoria Letheby and Sonia Lipski were given a first hand look at the operation yesterday, during a tour of the city which also took in the Flying Doctor Base and the School of the Air.
The pair, who will be at Agfair today and tomorrow, are involved in raising awareness of various charities through their involvement in Miss World Australia.
But neither of the women, who were given a tour of the nursery and met with employees, had seen anything quite like Picton Plants.
Both Ms Lipski and Ms Letheby, who are first-time visitors to Broken Hill, were impressed with its work.
"I think for these girls coming out here, it's a side of life they don't see," Mrs Harvey said.