A bright space to rebuild lives

May 19, 2022

The centrepiece of the Haymarket Foundation’s crisis accommodation in Chippendale has been given a fresh look, thanks to the help of volunteers.

The large loungeroom, in the heritage-listed building, has been given a lick of paint, making it a more therapeutic space for people experiencing homelessness.

The work was carried out during Volunteer Week.

“My father died of COVID earlier this year in Hong Kong – and he taught me the value of volunteering. I could not see him to say goodbye or attend the funeral in person because of the travel restrictions,”  says volunteer Peter Ng. “Giving back to others is the only thing I can do to still connect with him.”

Caption: Peter Ng with Habitat for Humanity’s Greg Harris

Peter was one of the 11 volunteers who took part in the two-day working bee, made possible by Habitat for Humanity’s Brush with Kindness program

“I am so pleased to be able to be here. Wearing my employer’s uniform to help the community is a huge honour,” says Peter, who was given leave through engineering firm John Holland. “I had the choice about how to spend this time, but I’d much rather spend my time volunteering.”

One of the residents of the Haymarket Foundation’s crisis accommodation has acknowledged the improvement: “It looks mad,” says Johnathan. “It’s a lot brighter than the dark pink.”

While the space has traditionally been used to watch television, it is now increasingly being used as a therapeutic space. Residents’ meetings are being held there, with plans for yoga classes.

“We are really excited to have a space for the residents which is welcoming and bright, where they can have fun playing table tennis or just relax with a book,” says the head of homelessness services at the Haymarket Foundation, Camilla Williams. “We are so grateful to the team and Habitat for Humanity for the work.”

Greg Harris, who runs the program with Habitat for Humanity says it’s satisfying work: “I like working with volunteers. It’s rewarding to hear about how two days’ work can make an impact on people’s lives.”

There are plans to paint other parts of the residence.

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Thank you for your kindness and compassion!