State Matters with Phil Donato | Out and about in Parkes Shire

SCHOOL TO WORK PROGRAM: Phil Donato met with Trundle Central School student Max Longhurst to check out his fine welding skills in the schools workshop. Photo: Submitted
SCHOOL TO WORK PROGRAM: Phil Donato met with Trundle Central School student Max Longhurst to check out his fine welding skills in the schools workshop. Photo: Submitted

It's never been a more important time for people to come together, to be connected, to get involved and be active. The combined effects of drought, bushfires and pandemic have had an impact on us individually, and as a community. Mental health has emerged as a serious issue that needs to be tackled.

I would encourage people to reach out and include others, to get involved in community, social, recreational and sporting activities, which are all important for community connection and mental wellbeing.

Community organisations and clubs are integral to the community, that's why it's important that I support organisations which provide opportunities for locals to come together and be involved in activity.

I've been pleased to support grant applications for organisations and clubs in the local community which continue to provide opportunities for locals to join in.

Last week I was pleased to officially announce a successful grant to Parkes District Cricket Association for new cricket equipment. There are several hundred registered cricket players in the Parkes District who will benefit from this grant, and I hope this support enables more people to get involved.

I attended the beautiful St George's Anglican Church and hall in Parkes where I announced their successful grant for refurbishment of the building, which will improve the amenities and enable members of the congregation and community to use.

I was pleased to again visit the Trundle War Memorial School of Arts where I personally congratulated Paul Hevers, Stella Farmer and Andrew Rawsthorne on their successful Community Building Partnership grant application for the installation of new air conditioning units in the hall.

I have previously supported another grant for a new kitchen in the hall, which has been a terrific improvement of the community facility. The hall is important community resource where events and functions can cater for hundreds of locals.

While at Trundle I dropped in to visit once again visit Trundle Central School. Principal John Southon gave me a tour and we were followed about by the school's friendly companion dog which never fails to put smiles on everyone's faces.

I got to meet students and staff, and managed to see a few of the students who are enrolled in the School to Work program, engaged in practical learning skills such as welding and mechanical.

John is dedicated to community and passionate about the development of his students. John has turned a great school into a community resource which really makes education more than numbers and words. I applaud John for his tenacity and advocacy for both his students and the Trundle community.

I couldn't leave Trundle without a visit to the Trundle Child Care Centre. I'm always greeted with lots of smiles from the kids when I visit, and this visit was no exception. Hellen, Kayleen and Courtney do a fantastic job looking after their 40 enrolled children, 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. They do a fantastic job and are a true asset to their wonderful community.

2020 has been an extraordinary year, and one which has tested us, here in the electorate, and far beyond. It's important that we look after one another, and, where possible, that we come together. Please reach out to those who may be alone at this time, and keep in touch with our friends and family.

Please be safe out there on the roads if you're travelling, and take regular breaks. From my family to yours, have a safe and happy festive season, and we wish you the best for the year ahead.