Empty shops along Grey Street would suggest that Glen Innes’ glory days are behind it. But for locals, there’s still a lot to love, the town just needs a bit of help.
“We are a community that desperately needs a place for our young people to gather, to learn and develop friendships,” said Gary te Velde, a member of the Glen Innes Rotary Club.
The future of the Northern Tablelands town in rural New South Wales is looking brighter after the local branch of Scouts Australia received a $25,000 donation from the Coca-Cola Australia Foundation (CCAF).
The funds will go directly towards renovating the 1st Glen Innes Scout Hall. Built in 1923 and extended in 1962, “it’s badly in need of a bit of a makeover,” Gary said. “It’s starting to fall into disrepair.”
The Northern Tablelands town of Glen Innes has received a grant from the Coca-Cola Australia Foundation to upgrade their local scout hall.
The 1st Glen Innes Scout Group is just one of 32 charities to share in a total of $750,000 in grants from the CCAF. The one-off grant projects are for communities where employees live, work, or have a personal connection.
For Susie Crumpton, external affairs manager at Coca-Cola South Pacific, it was an easy decision to nominate the Glen Innes Scout Group.
“My seven-year-old son is a member of Scouts Australia, and I saw how much better resourced his Sydney group was compared with 1st Glen Innes,” Susie said. Growing up in Glen Innes, she’s well aware of the impact the renovation will have on the local community.
“I know this will have long-term benefits for the young people involved in the Scouts program now and in the future,” she said. “I couldn’t be happier for my hometown.”
Glen Innes Rotary Club and 1st Glen Innes Scouts are excited for the renovations to start.
With a population of just 6000 people and servicing a district of 15,000, Glen Innes faces the same challenges as many rural communities, including lack of opportunities for young people. But locals groups are working together to build up the community.
According to Desmond FitzGerald, president of the Glen Innes Rotary Club, there’s a lot of value in building the community from the ground up.
“The Scouts don’t just teach people how to tie knots. They teach them how to work as a team,” Desmond said.
“Young people gain confidence as they learn how to cooperate and respect one another while participating in Scouting projects. They take these social lessons with them to adulthood, so the whole community benefits. The Scout hall needs repairs and renovations. We wouldn’t have been able to do the renovations unless we had adequate funding, so this has been well received by the community.”
Funded by CCAF, the Glen Innes Rotary Club, private donations and a generous cheque from the local op-shop, the renovations will commence in 2017.
“When it’s finished, the hope is that the Scout group will lease the building back to other community groups,” Gary said. “The elderly need a place to run classes too. There are so many opportunities for us now.”