The volunteers had travelled great distances, from Victoria, the ACT, Queensland, South Australia and many areas within NSW, to offer their skills and abilities to assist those who are "doing it tuff" or were in great need of help.
The volunteers ranged in age from the young, 19- 23 (representing the Royal Agriculture Society) to those in their 80's. This shows that age need not be a barrier in offering help to others in need. Many of the volunteers have had experience with Outback Links in earlier projects where they have assisted on remote and rural properties where the help was required.
Reverend Jo-anne Smalbil from the Cobar Nyngan Patrol, had liaised with Glenn and Sofia over many weeks to identify the property owners who are in need of help and also a project that would benefit the whole of the Cobar community. The properties were chosen because the owners had suffered through drought over the last number of years, leading to greater debt and increased financial pressures. They also had suffered from other severe impacts to their lives, such as a death of a partner after a very long illness, ill health, frailty, injury or simply old age and not having the ability to carry out the required work load.
The "Youthie" is a Youth and Fitness centre and is a much loved community asset that is fully utilised, meeting many of the needs of the community, but sadly was in dire need of an external facelift. Consultation between all stakeholders led to an agreement of forming 3 work parties, one each going to a property and all work parties returning to Cobar on Thursday to paint the "Youthie".
The tasks were varied over the properties but they did include painting, cleaning and sorting, demolishing, rebuilding, painting, more painting laying some pavers, cooking, washing and so on.
The work performed brought about a level of restored dignity to the property owners, improving their surroundings, their safety and giving them a healthier environment in which to live and work.
left and below -
volunteers hard at work inside and out
right and left - Janine Jackson (director Frontier Services) meeting with the property owners.
Even though there was a great deal of hard work and incredibly long days the volunteers worked solidly together, supporting one another and enjoying an amazing time of comradeship and fellowship. Lasting relationships were formed with one another and also with the property owners. There was even time for a little fun and entertainment, as the bag pipes came out and a little dancing took place.
below- Reverend Jo-anne Smalbil with Janine Jackson
On Thursday morning all the volunteers came into the township of Cobar to tackle the massive BIG task of painting the "Youthie". The Shire Council had prepared it for painting and supplied the paint and some materials. As people arrived in town from the properties they armed themselves with brushes and rollers and by mid afternoon the task was complete and in readiness for the "professional" painter to do the art work. The local paper picked up on the story and wrote a very complimentary article with a follow up next week.
Whilst the volunteers were working on the given properties and the Youthie the NRMA mechanics had been visiting a number of properties repairing farm machinery and vehicles. Their work and their stories and their great personalities were greatly appreciated by the property owners.
Thursday evening everyone came together, the Outback Links volunteers, NRMA mechanics, the property owners, the Cobar Shire management (apology from the Mayor due to illness) and the Frontier Services team, in the Cobar Uniting Church hall to have a BBQ, prepared for us by Cobar Rotary Club. This allowed time for them to share their experiences and to share fellowship and allowing time to say their farewells as Friday was a day of departures as most of the volunteers were to make their way home.
The Cobar community is so much richer for having had everyone that was involved in Outback Links share their skills and volunteer their time to those in need.