FEDERAL Member for Page Janelle Saffin this week visited Yamba to inspect progress on a federally funded refurbishment of Ngaru Village's community centre/basketball stadium.
Ms Saffin said she was delighted to work with Birrigan Gargle Local Aboriginal Land Council to start giving the old building a facelift so a range of community programs could be reintroduced for families and children.
"I was able to secure $40,000 in funding from the Coffs Harbour-based Indigenous Co-ordination Centre (ICC) and Birrigan Gargle LALC is making a financial contribution to update the community kitchen," Ms Saffin said.
"I congratulate land council chairman Kim Ferguson and her board, chief executive officer Norma Collins, all local elders, and CRANES Lower Clarence Community Worker Angela Rock for supporting this very positive project."
Ms Collins thanked Ms Saffin for lobbying new ICC manager Elizabeth Stehr to prioritise the refurbishment and for arranging for Clarence Valley Council outdoor staff to mow the grounds as part of general maintenance last year.
"We are now offering a homework centre for primary and secondary students every Tuesday and are looking at reintroducing a playgroup, running TAFE computer courses, and once we get our stove up and running, a soup kitchen," Ms Collins said.
Terry Kelly, an Aboriginal builder from Ballina, and his work team have travelled to Ngaru Village over recent months to fit doors to the community centre and to replace old lighting, high windows and skylights. Further work is required to weatherproof the roof.
Ms Saffin said she would continue to work with Ngaru Village and other Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander communities in the Page electorate on Closing the Gap initiatives which local elders had identified as having a high priority.