The importance of giving back

Work has been such pleasure for The Salvation Army Employment Plus’ Work for the Dole participants at Bayside Craft that having finished their project quota two-thirds of the way through their placement, they’re now creating a whole new raft of products for worthy community recipients.

Work for the Dole is a government initiative that provides job seekers with the opportunity to gain skills, experience and confidence required to move from unemployment to paid work, while making a positive contribution to their local community.

The job-seeking candidates set out to make a significant number of adult quilts, reading pillows, hand-towels, face-washers, tote bags, adult quilts and calico shopping bags to provide comfort to those fleeing domestic violence situations.

These will be distributed through Bayside Community Collaborative – a group of local community organisations, Members of Parliament and businesses raising awareness and taking action against violence against women and girls in the Bayside Region.

Having completed their expected tasks six weeks out from the program’s end, the group is undertaking three new projects to keep them busy until the end of August, with Work for the Dole participants having significant creative input into the design and deliverables.

“The group got together and decided to make children’s quilts, dream catchers and specially designed “Trees of Life”,” says Christine Schluter, manager of Bayside Craft.

“The ornamental ‘The Tree of Life’ is a piece of art that people displaced by violence can hang in their rooms, above their bed and it signifies hope. The design was created by Work for the Dole participant, Blade Sypher, who has taught the rest of the group how to make them.”

Schulter says this is the first time Bayside Craft has created a batch of work for the Bayside Community Collaborative and expects to provide nearly double the amount of items it set out to provide.

“We now intend on supporting this collaborative for the next round of Work for the Dole with Employment Plus. Sadly there is a real need for this support. But our participants clearly have a passion for helping these women out given the output they have achieved and it’s a great credit to their work ethic.”