Community backs Scout camp project

December 2, 2021 BY

Teamwork: WDEA Works participant Phil and renovation project manager Nathan Rogers lay down some carpet tiles at the newly restored Rowallan Hut in Koolamurt Park Scout Camp. Photo: JULIE HOUGH

NESTLED between red ironbark trees and Bendigo bushland in Spring Gully, the Koolamurt Park Scout Camp has been home to a very special community-minded restoration project.

The camping grounds first opened in 1949 and for decades has served Scouts and various groups.

Over that time, the halls and buildings have gradually worn down and with financial struggles exacerbated by the pandemic, the Koolamurt Park Scout Camp team looked to the community for help.

Luckily, local drug and alcohol recovery service Impact Recovery saw the site as an opportunity to assist with the restoration while providing employment opportunities for jobseekers in collaboration with WDEA Works.

“It’s about giving someone a little bit of drive, a bit of work skills and sometimes a reason to get up and come into a work like environment, they’re learning all the valuable skills and it’s a social thing too,” Work For The Dole consultant at WDEA Works, Sarah Becker said.

Works at the site include general maintenance and bigger restoration works at the camp’s Rowallan Hut and recreation hall, while participants are taught skills and leadership to help them find employment.

So far, three participants have been involved through Work for the Dole activities, which has included flooring, painting, plastering and installing new cupboards and benches.

Impact Recovery uses the site for its own work therapy program, with participants helping restore the camp’s fire pit and surrounding benches.

The camping ground is also used as the current location for the Bendigo Winter Night Shelter, providing accommodation for people experiencing homelessness between June and August.

The project has been funded in part by the Strathfieldsaye and Districts Community Enterprise, through their community grants initiative.

Malcolm Adlington, group leader at Koolamurt Park Scout Camp, said he’s grateful for support, as the park would’ve fallen into despair without them.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do it ourselves,” he said.

“The place sat here with white ant damage for two years. We wouldn’t have had any opportunity financially to do it, especially with COVID and no people coming through.”

Executive support manager at Impact Recovery, Liz Wells said the project is an example of how strong community spirit is in Bendigo.

“We are so pleased to be overseeing this project which will give so much to our community for generations to come,” she said. “This project is a testament to the resilience of the people in our community and the power of collaboration.”

Thank you for supporting local journalism!