Monastery programs for unemployed working well

Donna Cooper and Fr John Curtis CP from The Monastery inside the recently renovated Men’s Shed (The Southern Cross)

Increasing confidence and developing new skills are just two of the outcomes for people who have been participating in Work for the Dole programs at The Monastery in Adelaide. Source: The Southern Cross.

Over the past two years several projects at the Passionist parish have been undertaken through the Government-funded program including creating a nature play space, regenerating the garden near Cross Road and general works around the vast grounds.

Most recently, a 26-week program saw an existing building gutted, internal walls removed and insulation installed to create a new “men’s shed”. An expansive area outside the shed was paved to provide an entertaining space and it is hoped a future Work for the Dole program will result in the construction of a verandah.

Donna Cooper, manager of The Monastery’s retreat and conference centre, said the unemployed involved in the work experience program had done an “amazing job” and added it was great to witness their personal growth during the process.

“It’s really nice watching them grow from someone who can barely speak when they walk through the door because they are so nervous and, especially with the 26-week program, to see their confidence grow – they just blossom,” she said.

“It is such a supportive environment here and a lot of them say they just love coming here because they feel a little bit special, a little bit nurtured.

“A lot of people on the program have never been here before and what we hear often is ‘that’s what is behind that fence’. It takes away the mystery for them.”

Donna said it was a privilege to be asked to provide a reference for those who met the guidelines of the program and because of the skills they had gained were applying for jobs.

Other programs undertaken at the Urrbrae grounds include rejuvenating a “dead patch of garden” near the church into a nature play space for children.

“It links well with the church and the parish. Our vision was that parishioners have a cuppa after church once a month and if the kids are happy playing, the parents will stay,” Ms Cooper said.

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Monastery programs helping unemployed (The Southern Cross

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