Its hard to believe that in February this year the grounds at the Mackay Regional Football Park used for junior soccer were in a very poor state and in need of community support.
Six months on the grounds have undergone a major transformation as a result of assistance received through the participants of the Mackay Regional Football Zone (MRFZ) Work for the Dole Project.
MRFZ President, Scott Mealy said initially there was a lot of community debate surrounding the quality of the playing fields.
“The grounds themselves were very uneven and we only had one playing field with grass on it.”
“The MRFZ are a not for profit organisation and we didnt have the manpower or funds to pay for work that needed to be done. That was until earlier this year when we contacted BUSY At Work and decided to commence a Work for the Dole project.”
“With the help of 15 participants we have been able to lay 30,000 square metres of turf and complete seven playing fields of various sizes for junior and senior soccer. The participants not only helped with the turfing but also with grounds levelling, line marking, irrigation, mowing and construction and demolition work.”
“I cannot give the participants a big enough wrap. They were absolutely brilliant and we really appreciate their efforts. Despite their commitment ending, a number of them have stayed on and have continued to help out at the fields,” Mr Mealy said.
BUSY At Work, Work for the Dole (WfD) Coordinator, Kristy Gostelow said BUSY had worked with local jobactive Community Solutions to identify suitable job seekers to commence the project and to match them to activities.
“We saw the potential for the MRFZ to help them achieve their goals, and in partnership with Community Solutions, we were keen to assist them with the development of the grounds.”
“The project delivered much more than we expected in the first six months with the participants putting the development of the grounds at least one year ahead of planning,” Ms Gostelow said.
As the host Work for the Dole organisation, BUSY At Work secured Daimon Dickson to supervise the project and the participants.
According to Daimon the participants excelled themselves and were able to achieve new levels of skills in many different areas of construction and maintenance.
“As the supervisor I felt it was my role to not only teach the job seekers work ethics but to help them build confidence by encouraging them to problem solve and show appreciation for their efforts.”
“Their outlook on the project became much more positive when they realised we were willing to teach them new skills and treat them with respect. One lady gained a lot of confidence when she learned how to operate a ride on mower and a tractor.”
“Another very shy participant took on a leading hand style position and has continued on to volunteer at the MRFZ. He has now gained a position with the Green Army and is looking to pursue a career in horticulture.”
Daimon said he was keen for other clubs and community groups to support the Work for the Dole program.
“This has been a very successful project and has worked so well that the MRFZ have signed on to a further six months. I am also sure there are many other sporting clubs and community bodies that could use the program in a positive way,” Mr Dickson said.
BUSY At Work CEO, Paul Miles said BUSY was pleased to be an active participant in the latest Work for the Dole initiative.
“We are delighted to be supporting this project which not only provides major benefits for the community but also improves employment outcomes for the participants. We are keen to work with other local organisations and provide real job prospects for disadvantaged job seekers,” Mr. Miles said.
BUSY At Work is the WfD Coordinator for the Mackay Employment Region and the MRFZ Work for the Dole Project is just one of a number of exciting projects underway in the Mackay region.
The WfD program is an initiative of the Australian Government and administered by the Department of Employment.
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