WHAT started out as the need to rejuvenate a Wattle Hill park has turned into much more.
Gossamer Park in Wattle Hill was in desperate need of a facelift earlier this year when the Rotary Club of Leeton, Leeton Shire Council, and the Leeton men’s and women’s Aboriginal groups stepped up to the plate.
While the original idea was to improve the park, it has become much more than that, with the community taking real ownership of the idea.
Martin Fernando from the men’s group said it allowed residents to feel as though they were contributing.
“We’ve been helping out where we can and it’s been really good,” he said.
“It feels like we’re really making a difference.”
The men’s and women’s groups both meet at least once a fortnight thanks to the Intereach and Centacare.
While the project at the park has been a focus, it also provides them with a way to connect to others in the Wattle Hill and wider community.
“For us, it’s a good way for blokes to just get together for a chat,” Mr Fernando said.
“We’re learning lots of new skills.”
As part of funding provided by the state government to council, the park initiative will include a playground refurbishment, new barbecue, art work display and community garden.
Money for lighting in the park has also been sourced in a bid to make the area safer for all users.
A slab has been put down for the new barbecue area, with men’s group members helping with the process, while a large bucket swing is also due for completion.
Women’s group member Rebel Maskey said the park was already starting to become a shining light for the community.
“I think it's great all the work that has been done,” she said.
“It’s bringing all of the community together.”
Ms Maskey was hopeful further funding could be obtained for the creation of a community garden.
“I know sometimes I’m about to cook dinner and I’m short a vegetable or two … a community garden would let us go pick what we need,” she said.
“Being out here, it can be hard to get into town to get those little things.”
The Leeton Aboriginal Lands Council has also been assisting with the project and both the men’s and women’s groups.
Chief executive officer Karen Davy said it was pleasing to see progress at the park.
“It’s been a great collaboration in having the community really involved,” she said. With more work to be done, Leeton Shire Council’s Nateaka Blake said the park would continue to be a priority.