Our EO, Tracy Phillips, tells the story
“ Towards the end of last year, I picked up the phone to a very surprising offer from a local company in Wetherill Park. Helen, who works in HR at ParexDavco had read on our website that we had transitional houses and got an idea that her company might be able to help out. One of their main products is a special grout to rejuvenate old bathroom tiles, and they were asking if they could help us make our properties more beautiful.
There were no strings attached. Helen understood the safety concerns and importance of confidentiality for our clients. All the work would be done anonymously. It was a very real and sincere offer.
In that first conversation we talked about the bathroom product but before I knew it, Helen was thinking about how other customers of theirs could be involved too. For example, in providing tradespeople or products: a paint company here and a hardware store there. It all grew from that. So now instead of just rejuvenating our bathrooms, it’s become tiling, painting, repairs… anything really.
Bonnie’s manages transitional properties for women who leave a crisis or come to our service because they’re at risk of homelessness. Women can move into these properties and live in them for three to 12 months. There’s a high turnover of people living there of course and there’s always children so there’s a fair bit of wear and tear. We have 20 properties and we’re responsible for all the maintenance. It’s a big drain on our budget.
One of the things that we love about the help from Parex and their partners, is the way they treat us like a real customer. They don’t go, ‘Here’s our leftovers and this is what you’re getting.’ They bring around a sample of tiles for me to choose from or to decide paint colours. It’s a great feeling.
One house they worked on for us recently had a bare concrete veranda, now it’s got lovely slate tiles. The laundry had a black painted floor and it had all chipped off, it looked really ratty. That’s all been retiled. The back steps have been painted. It looks like a finished-off house now, like there’s care put in to it.
It send a fantastic message to our women. It says: ‘Just because you’re in this difficult circumstance, you don’t have to live in something that looks bad and dejected’. It says, ‘You deserve something that’s pleasant and in good condition. It says, ‘You’re valued’. And when you think that these women have had to give up their homes, or have nowhere to live, that’s really important.
With the money we’re saving, we can improve the properties in other ways. One property was a bit vulnerable and there’d been a break in. Now we’ve improved security with Crimsafe screens. We’ve taken out some old carpets and put polished floorboards in some properties. They look a lot nicer, and a lot of kids have asthma, so it’s much better for that and for allergies. Women often tell us ‘The kids aren’t coping with the carpet’. We’re aiming to get rid of carpet in all the properties and polish the floors as soon as we can.
We thank Parex and Helen and all the tradesmen and businesses who are helping us provide more encouraging and beautiful places for our families. We feel like we’ve been taken under their wing, I guess.
And when that wing can wield a grouting tool and a paint brush, that’s a great feeling!”
Story from Tracy Phillips, Bonnie’s EO
It’s amazing what can be achieved with the community’s help. If you’d like to partner with Bonnie’s in supporting local women and children to live violence-free,
Just contact us. We’ve got lots of ideas!