Wooroloo prisoners get a fresh start

The work party from Wooroloo Prison Farm carries out maintenance repairs at Butterly Cottages.
Picture: Bruce Hunt        www.communitypix.com.au   d468244
The work party from Wooroloo Prison Farm carries out maintenance repairs at Butterly Cottages. Picture: Bruce Hunt        www.communitypix.com.au d468244

VULNERABLE people are living independently for longer in Toodyay with the help of ‘the crew from Wooroloo’ to help maintain their homes.

The tasks undertaken vary from paving pathways to replacing damaged fences, erecting a clothes hoist, to fixing a door.

No job is too hard and all the work is unpaid because the men at work are from Wooroloo Prison Farm.

Section 95 work parties from the minimum-security prison have maintained 12 independent units at Butterly Cottages for the past three years, visiting once a month to lend help where needed.

Butterly Cottages Association president Jeff Roberts said having worked with juvenile recidivist offenders for 10 years, he understood the value of giving a person a second chance.

He was so delighted with recent work completed by the crew of eight and their supervisor that he invited the team to afternoon tea with the tenants.

Representatives from Butterly Cottages and Toodyay Shire attended the tea party, where Mr Roberts formally thanked the crew for their work earlier this month.

“While incarcerated, they are given lots of opportunities to better their lot, and part of that is learning practical skills,” he said.

“They are doing us a great service and we are doing them a great service providing them with the positives of fruitful and productive work, so that when they are released they have some opportunities to better themselves,” he said.

Butterly Cottages began as Toodyay Homes for the Aged about 30 years ago.

Mr Roberts said by 2021, the not-for-profit organisation would have close to 30 units to rent.

“We’re in the process of building another eight to nine units with the help of the Shire and Royalties for Regions, and have plans to provide another 10 units,” he said.

The units are subsidised for pensioners and the accommodation is for low to moderate-income earners and particularly suitable for those with a medical need.

“Elderly people are grateful they do not have to go into care and can continue to live independently,” he said.

Wooroloo Prison community work officer Peter Smithers said community projects usually arrived ‘by word of mouth’.

He said potential crew members’ performance was measured and applications approved on the basis they met the highest trust and lowest security ratings.

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