Locals give hope to homeless

Damien Coats
Federation TAFE Cabinet Making teacher Damien Coats is helping Western Victoria’s most vulnerable by donating time and skills to refurbish fire-damaged Reid’s Guest House.

Federation TAFE's cabinet making team are helping western Victoria’s most vulnerable by donating time and skills to refurbish fire-damaged Reid’s Guest House to get it back to running at full capacity.

Run by Uniting Vic.Tas, Reid’s is the largest accommodation facility in the region for people experiencing homelessness.

After a devastating fire in early 2022, the building was rendered uninhabitable, suffering significant structural and electrical damage that necessitated a total refurbishment.

The fire saw the displacement of fifty guests who were evacuated in the middle of the night and urgently relocated into alternate emergency accommodation across the state.

The temporary closure of Reid’s was felt across the region and put extra pressure on a sector already struggling to find enough beds for vulnerable people and keep them off the streets.

Guests were unable to return for nine months until safety and building works were completed, after which the site was deemed habitable and was reopened with limited capacity.

Using materials generously donated by manufacturer Laminex, Federation TAFE cabinet making and joinery teachers, Damien Coats, Ben Curtis and Colin Trembath, got on the tools to help Reid’s become fully operational again, making prefabricated wardrobes, desks, and bedside units which will be fitted to approximately thirty rooms.

Damien says, “The local community is very important to Federation TAFE and it is really pleasing to be able to utilise our resources and skills and partner with other organisations to undertake this community service project for Reid’s Guest House.”

“Uniting’s work providing shelter to those in need is critically important and I’m pleased we can supply furniture to make the guests more comfortable.”

Reid’s Guesthouse manager, Daniel Hemming is thankful for the support of Federation TAFE and commends locals helping locals, “We’re extremely grateful to Federation TAFE staff and students for the incredible work they are producing which is appreciated by all of us at Reid’s Guest House and Uniting Vic.Tas.”

“All of the furniture is being crafted and hand made here in Ballarat, and we hope once it’s installed it will help the people who stay with us at Reid’s, feel more comfortable and at home.”

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