Each year CEC hosts an annual offsite for all staff members, and this year we all hopped on a bus on a Thursday afternoon and drove to Jervis Bay. We stayed at The Woods Farm, a boutique luxury accommodation located on 40 acres of picturesque country farm land in Tomerong forest. The property is home to a range of farm animals including cows, horses, alpacas, chickens, peacocks, and goats (which you can feed every morning!). The farm features outdoor games such as giant chess, jenga, a bocce court, a veggie garden, a chicken coop where you can get fresh eggs, and a big communal bonfire – perfect for roasting marshmallows.
We spent the first day of the offsite together in an afternoon strategy and team-building session at the farm. Being a team of design consultants, we often work independently or in small teams on projects, and are often based on client sites, so this was the perfect opportunity for us to all come together and work as a single team.
The Shoalhaven Homeless Hub is a front line service for individuals, families and couples who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The hub is a safe place for people in need and offers access to a kitchen, laundry, bathrooms and showers, washing machines, clothing, supplies, food and emergency provisions. They offer professional counselling to youth and families free of charge, and provide information, advice and referrals to a variety of specialist homelessness services.
We wanted to make a difference within the community we were staying, and we chose the Shoalhaven Homeless Hub for the amazing and valued work they do within the community. We wanted to help as many people as we could; what we did will last well beyond the day’s work.
When we arrived at the hub we were split up into four teams: a BBQ team, Furniture & Gardening team, Gifting team, and Website team. Our studio manager provided us with a brief, a budget, and a time limit in which to complete our task, and with that we were on our way.
The BBQ team went to the local supermarket and shopped, cooked, and served a BBQ lunch to people in the homeless community.
The gifting team purchased and handed out hairdresser vouchers to the homeless, shopped and assembled 40 backpacks full of everyday necessities and ‘luxury’ items they wouldn’t normally have access to; paw paw ointments, sunscreen, hairbrush/combs, moisturisers etc.
The website team built and designed a new website for the Shoalhaven Homeless Hub in a day: http://shoalhavenhomelesshub.com/
The furniture & gardening team purchased and installed new furniture, a letterbox, clothes line, pots and plants, and together with Mick Finlay the Handyman in Nowra we renovated their garden, cleaned out years of built-up fallen leaves, established a new veggie patch, and upgraded their entry gates.
A massive thank you Mick the Handyman in Nowra, as well as to Julie and Kerri at Shoalhaven Homeless Hub for allowing all of us the opportunity to make a difference in your community. We had an absolute blast working together on the homeless hub, and getting to know you all, and those in your community.
For anyone interested in getting involved, you can donate to the Shoalhaven Homeless Hub here.