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Blackroo Coalface

Blackroo Community Haven has been operating out of garages, work sheds and homes in Muswellbrook, but now the organisation has a place to call home thanks to grant funding through MACH Energy.

The MACH Energy Mount Pleasant Operation Aboriginal Community Development Fund (ACDF) was established in 2006 and supports partnerships in the Upper Hunter Valley for local Aboriginal communities including health; economic development; cultural and community development and education.

Blackroo applied for funding through the ACDF and were successful in getting two grants that has enabled them to move their community haven into the former Muswellbrook Fire and Rescue NSW shed.

Community Engagement Manager De-Anne Douglas said they were over the moon to receive $45,000 through ACDF to move and get their own custom-built trailer.

“I can’t tell you what it means to us. We’ve been operational for three years now with stuff all over the place so for us to have our own haven to do what we need to do is so special.

“We were also funded to get a custom-built trailer for furniture removal.”

Blackroo runs a number of programs for vulnerable people in the Upper Hunter including the ‘New Beginnings’ program that helps families affected by domestic violence and homelessness; the ‘Schools In’ program provides school bags, uniforms, shoes, things underprivileged kids need to go to school; the ‘Interacts’ program that is run in conjunction with some of the local disability services and the annual 2NM PowerFM Food and Toy Appeal.

“We’re so fortunate, people often ask, ‘why do you do what you do?’ and we do it because we are involved in an amazing community. Times are tough for everyone and we are so fortunate we get the support that we do from local businesses and individuals,” said De-Anne.

Ngaire Baker, the External Relations Manager for Mount Pleasant Operations said she’s ecstatic the ACDF chose to support Blackroo and their new haven.

“All of the applications are taken very seriously by the ACDF, and this program is well deserving of the assistance because it does so much in the local community. Not just for the Aboriginal families who need help, but for those who are escaping domestic violence and just generally fallen on hard times.

Blackroo Coalface

“It has raised the profile of the organisation too; people want to help. Steve, one of my colleagues and his wife have just built a new house and instead of selling their old furniture and white goods, they’re donating it all to Blackroo.

“At the official opening it was wonderful to see Daracon, Malabar Coal, Bengalla, BHP, everyone in the community was there from an industry perspective. AGL paid for coffees for the opening event, the work Blackroo does touches everyone in some way.

“We are so ecstatic that we can be a part of it and make a difference in our community.”

The Haven not only allows Blackroo to run their various programs, but they also have shower facilities, washing machines and space to run various other community programs.

De-Anne has been blown away by the support, spending just as much time crying tears of joy as she has cleaning up the old fire station.

“It really brought me to tears when we received the invoice from Muswellbrook Signs. I was reading it and at the bottom, the invoice said zero owing for the $8,700 bill. They donated it all, I was in tears.”

If you need support from Blackroo, call 6543 0246 For more information on Blackroo: https://www.blackrooindustries.com/

Image caption: Blackrock Founder Steve Fordham, MACH Energy Mount Pleasant External Relations Manager Ngaire Baker, Uncle Glen Morris, Aunty Jean Hands (ACDF Committee Member), Malcolm Franks (ACDF Committee Member), Blackroo Community Engagement Manager De-Anne Douglas and Blackroo volunteer Debbie Hobson.

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