Through the Gerard Revitalisation Project, participants assisted in a wide range of tasks around the Gerard Council area—all houses and property are owned by Gerard Community Council.
“This project involved rejuvenation and transforming of the properties within the Gerard community, along with the cemetery restoration,” explained Activity Supervisor Hartley Lindsay.
“Tasks were gardening and maintenance, which included clearing garden areas, painting and making repairs to the properties.”
Hartley says the community was pleased with the work completed in the six month period.
Hartley was encouraged by both non-Indigenous and Indigenous people participating in the Gerard Revitalisation Project, encouraging participants to learn about each other’s cultures.
During the project Hartley took the time to speak with job seekers about the history of Gerard, including Community Elders and locals. “If you start with cultural awareness and respect for culture it will hopefully motivate unemployed Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to move from benefits and contribute to their community” he said.
The Gerard Revitalisation Project gave participants experiencing social and personal barriers opportunities to develop and apply new skills in a team environment.
“Job seekers worked as a team, had work health and safety training and supervision throughout the activity” Hartley said.
“They built their confidence and were part of a team, as well as having the opportunity to work independently and problem solve.”
“They took instruction well and improved their communication skills, motivation and reliability.”
Participants were offered the opportunity to gain a current referee as well as develop skills that could be transferred into the workplace.
Hartley became more than a supervisor to participants. As a mentor he discussed social and personal issues, while they helped others in the community and contributed to a community to be proud of.
Hartley brother, Dean, well regarded as a motivator for the younger people in his community, was also a participant. He enjoyed looking after his community and assisting elderly members who were unable to maintain gardens or do small handyman jobs.
The cemetery work was a huge success, instilling a commitment to keep up with the maintenance. Locals now appreciate visiting the cemetery, acknowledging that it now looks cared for, showing respect to the people who have passed away.