Belconnen Community Service’s 10/10 Project

I rise today to thank the good people at Belconnen Community Service for all they do to support Canberrans who live in the Belconnen district, most of whom also live within my electorate of Ginninderra. I am especially grateful for BCS’s annual 10/10 Project that takes place each year in October and has been occurring regularly since 2012.

Early this past Friday morning, dozens of volunteers gathered at St James Anglican Church in Holt. We began the day with freshly cooked bacon and egg rolls, safety training and a brief orientation. We were then divided into ten teams and sent out to ten different homes in the community for a ‘backyard blitz’. Belconnen residents who are struggling to stay on top of their gardens are invited to apply for this program, and priority is given to applications where:

  • the occupants are at risk of eviction or homelessness due to the current condition of the garden;

  • an overgrown garden presents a high fire risk;

  • physical limitations prevent the occupants from maintaining outdoor areas; or

  • current conditions prevent the family from using the outside area.

Life has a way of getting on top of people sometimes, and then it can be extremely difficult to get back on top of tasks. The 10/10 program is a brilliant opportunity, not unlike a number of popular reality television shows, to help people who are overwhelmed for one reason or another get back into a position where they can cope. This is a great opportunity for people in our community who need a helping hand.

It is also a great opportunity for all of the volunteers who pitch in and make a real difference in the lives of others. Volunteers this past Friday included staff from both Belconnen Community Service and Housing ACT. We were joined as well by a group of students from Kaleen High School and by various volunteers from throughout the community. I was also grateful that two of my staff put their hands up to labour alongside us.

The team I was assigned to was sent to a house with gardens that were tremendously overgrown. All of the volunteers cheerfully went to work and tackled the difficult task of pruning, cleaning and clearing. When we had finished, the joy on the owner’s face was wonderful. Her grandchildren were so happy to be able to actually run around in the restored backyard.

I wish to publicly thank Mandy Green, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of Belconnen Community Service, along with all her staff. A special thank-you goes to Graham McKerchar, BCS’s transport program manager, who coordinates the event each year. He made sure that we were well equipped with mowers, whipper snippers, gloves, skips, water and snacks, with teams well matched to each home’s particular needs. I also want to thank the volunteers from Housing ACT who prepared not only the much appreciated breakfast but also catered and cooked a delicious lunch for all of us as well.

I believe strongly in the importance of community, Madam Speaker. This past Friday’s 10/10 Program is a perfect example of what happens when people band together to help their neighbours. I think many of us want to do that, but it can certainly help when someone like BCS makes it so easy and enjoyable to get involved. I am already looking forward to next year’s project and wholeheartedly invite community-minded Belconnen residents to join us in this act of service.

Thank you.

#Adjournment #Community #Ginninderra

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