Cleaning up their act

Daniel Coughlin, Harley Lincoln, Kevin Saul, Thomas Maples, Joe Edwards and Kyle Elwood help clean up Alcheringa Street. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Daniel Coughlin, Harley Lincoln, Kevin Saul, Thomas Maples, Joe Edwards and Kyle Elwood help clean up Alcheringa Street. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Alcheringa Street received a bit of a spruce-up on Wednesday thanks to the newly-formed Gagamin Aboriginal men’s group.

The men removed rubbish from footpaths and nature strips, mowed lawns and helped residents clear their yards.

But according to the Dubbo Violence Prevention Collective (DVPC)’s Kevin Saul, it’s not just the streets the men were looking to clean up.

Gagamin – Wiradjuri for “little brother” – brings together young men who want to turn their lives around.

Most of them are on correction orders. Many of them have been perpetrators of domestic or family violence.

“They’re just young blokes that got themselves into trouble because they didn’t know much better,” Mr Saul said.

“They really want to give back to their community. The first thing they wanted to do was go to the disadvantaged areas and clean them up.”

The group is also an important support network for the men as they fight to end the cycle of family violence.

“They’ve identified there’s a problem. They want to change but they know they need help to get out of it,” Mr Saul said.

“They want to be role models for their kids and partners but they know they can’t do it on their own.”

The men recently completed a clean-up in Apollo Estate. Their next clean-up is scheduled in about a fortnight.

At the moment Gagamin is supported by the DVPC, Mission Australia, Family and Community Services Housing, Community Corrections, Murdi Paaki Regional Enterprise Corporation, Orana Support Service and the Orana Local Area Command Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer (ACLO) Brendon Chatfield.

But Mr Saul said it wouldn’t be long before the group was self-sufficient.

“Give them six months and they’ll be running their own men’s group,” he said.

“It will help them cut back their [community service] hours...but they’re keen to be part of something good.”

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