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Building a better Locky

Hard at work: Rural aid volunteers from across the nation help to paint the interior and exterior of the Lockington Bamawm United Lawn Tennis Club. Photo by Adair Winder

Some 44 volunteers from Rural Aid have been sent to Lockington to complete upgrades to a number of facilities in town.

Lockington Planning Group chair Wendy Sims said she applied for a competition through Rural Aid called Our Towns Makeover (formerly known as Ten Town Rescue), in 2020.

Lockington was one of 70 towns that applied for the competition.

“In the application, I mentioned that our town is full of selfless volunteers that would really love and appreciate the help of outsiders to help us upgrade our town,” Ms Sims said.

After being approved as one of the 10 towns, community members sat down with Peter Kenyon from the Bank of Ideas to discuss which areas meant most to the community.

“With the help of Peter, we came up with a strategic community development plan about which facilities and areas were a priority for us,” Ms Sims said.

One of the Rural Aid co-ordinators behind the project, Grant Miskimmin, said there were eight projects that would be undertaken in Lockington between Monday, May 16 and Friday, May 20.

Some of the projects on the agenda for the volunteers include painting the interior and exterior of the tennis club, concreting under seats and around the rinks at the bowls club, painting inside the senior citizens room, fencing and clearing of the track at the rail trail, repairing fencing at Pannoo-Bamawm Cemetery, refurbishing the toilet block at Campdraft/pony club, replacing boards at the boardwalk and re-organising and cataloguing exhibits at the Heritage Centre.

Fresh coat: Rural Aid volunteers get ready to paint the exterior of the Lockington Bamawm Tennis Club. Photo by Adair Winder
Dream team: Elaine Pinchbeck and Mandy Daws put silicone in cracks in the tennis club walls prior to painting. Photo by Adair Winder

Although Ms Sims applied for the competition in 2020, there were many delays due to the pandemic.

“It’s been a long time coming but we’re finally here and ready to help the town out,” Mr Miskimmin said.

This is his 28th project that he has worked on with Rural Aid.

“The real champions of these projects are the volunteers who work together to achieve fantastic results for towns in need,” he said.

“The Lockington community has been absolutely magnificent as well. They have offered us vouchers to use around town and they made us personalised show-bags.

“We feel extremely welcomed by the community here.”

Mr Miskimmin said projects such as this gave community members and volunteers the opportunity to connect with one another.

“Often we will see community members and volunteers keeping in touch with each other after the project and in some cases they will meet up with one another,” he said.

Lockington is not the first town in the region to receive support from Rural Aid; Kyabram also gratefully accepted assistance from the organisation in 2019.