Play Grow Connect, Gulargambone
Local teacher, Katie Rowe, plays an active part in her local community by volunteering for several community organisations including the community owned and run 2828 Café. The café offers training and employment opportunities to locals as well as showcasing local produce. All profits from 2828 are invested back into the community.
In 2002 young locals were involved in restoring the old picture theatre to create the 2828 Café. Some fourteen years later a new generation of young locals have come together to create the Play.Grow.Connect! playground to enhance the café and provide a much needed safe space for children to play.
Katie applied to the RAS Foundation for funds to develop an interactive play space at the café, incorporating natural and sensory elements and providing the opportunity for imaginative play for the 0-7 age group., Katie's application included garden beds to create a herb garden to supply the café kitchen. The creativity and efforts of local students were used in making the stepping stones for the garden, an activity which students undertook to celebrate NAIDOC week. A number of creative indigenous designs can now be seen on the path.
Throughout the twelve month project, local young people worked with representatives of various community groups to develop their leadership, communication and teamwork skills, connecting to each other and the broader community. The volunteers all took away a renewed sense of achievement and pride in what they were able to achieve as a group.
Play. Grow. Connect! is a fabulous example of community engagement and development and is a credit to the organisation and leadership skills of Katie Rowe.