Hope Street in Melton, a specialised youth homelessness service and residential accommodation site, received a make-over of its grounds this week when a team of 40 staff from property developer Mirvac volunteered their time to run a working bee.
Hope Street Youth and Family Services is one of the longest established specialist youth homelessness services in Victoria, and its site in Melton provides residential accommodation and intensive one-to-one support and case management to local young people and young families who are experiencing homelessness – housing eight young single people and two young families at a time.
Mirvac, who run the nearby Woodlea housing development, selected Hope Street as one of their charity partners for their nationwide Community Day which sees hundreds of staff members stop their usual duties and volunteer their time for community benefit.
The team rolled up their sleeves to upgrade the garden beds, develop a child-friendly play area and install a cubby house, create a social area with paved patio and tables and chairs, upgrade the client interview room to make it more welcoming and comfortable, and assist with general maintenance. The Hope Street team hosted a barbeque lunch to thank the workers, and certificates of appreciation were distributed to each volunteer.
Chris Bracher, Community Development Manager for Mirvac Masterplan Communities, said Mirvac’s National Community Day is an opportunity for Mirvac staff across the country to down tools, pens and computers, and start giving back to the community in a practical sense.
"It’s a delight and really rewarding to help physically and to put a bit of elbow grease into making these places look better for the people who live here," he said.
Bay Warburton, Head of Stakeholder Relations at Mirvac, also participated in the working bee, and said: "Mirvac is about creating positive legacies and volunteering for us is win-win; we learn so much and we get to help advance the important work of charities in our communities."
Mr Warburton said National Community Day is in addition to Mirvac’s paid volunteering leave, which has recently been extended. "We have committed to unlimited, fully-paid volunteer leave for employees who want to do more so our people can share their skills with our communities," he said.
Donna Bennett, CEO of Hope Street Youth and Family Services, thanked the Mirvac team for their goodwill and energy and emphasized the impact that having a nice place to call home can have on young people’s mental health and self-esteem. "The fact that you have had the goodwill to come out here and do this today, it gives young people who are going through hard times a real vote of confidence and it tells them that there are people in the community who are on their side. We can’t thank Mirvac enough for this. You may only be here for one day, but your efforts will be long-lasting," she said.
This was the second year in a row that Mirvac had selected Hope Street as a charity partner, with a team of volunteers having upgraded the Hope Street program in Thomastown and the Youth Refuge in Brunswick West in 2017.
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