St Anthony of Padua Parish, Toongabbie, has received funding to support their effort to strengthen their outreach in the community.
The parish and school received grants as part of the NSW Government’s Community Building Partnership Program in 2020, which were presented by NSW Member for Prospect Hugh McDermott.
Mr McDermott, whose electorate covers parts of Toongabbie, presented a cheque to parish priest Fr Joby Ittara MS and members of the parish community during a small ceremony on Wednesday 10 March.
The $15,400 approved by the NSW government will go towards refurbishing the parish hall’s kitchen, including the purchasing of new appliances, replacing the flooring and electrical works, as well as carpentry and paint work for the hall’s two meeting rooms.
During the meeting, Mr McDermott explained that he was happy to help “my community”, as his daughters attend St Anthony’s Primary School, Girraween.
“The Catholic Church and its agencies don’t normally apply for government grants, which is strange as they are often at the forefront of the needs in the community.
“I thank you for all the work you do in the community, and I hope that this grant is the first of many things I can help with,” Mr McDermott said.
Fr Joby said that Mr McDermott assured his support and readiness to help the parish in its future endeavours to witness Christ and His love to the people of Toongabbie.
The parish hall hosts meetings for various parish groups, such as the Legion of Mary, the Tamil Prayer group and the local chapter of the St Vincent de Paul Society. It is also welcomes external services such as Alcoholics Anonymous and the Toongabbie Legal Centre.
George Cullen, Chair of the Parish Finance Committee, hopes the renovations will encourage the parish and wider community groups that use the hall to return with the easing of COVID restrictions.
“The parish hall has always been a community hall, and we want to make it presentable, as it is a vital part of our parish and its celebrations,” he said.
Grant to provide new playing space for school
Earlier in March, Mr McDermott also presented $30,000 in funding to St Anthony’s Primary School, Girraween, to improve their Friendship Garden.
Assistant Principal Patrick Cairns told Catholic Outlook that the garden, which includes a range of native species including a famed Wollemi Pine, will provide a new play area for the children.
“We hope the garden will be a place where students can come together and play and use their imagination and problem solving skills.
“We also hope that it will be a place where students can meet and talk to each other, providing an extra element to where they can play and have fun,” he said.
The NSW Government’s Community Building Partnership Program focusses on infrastructure project that “deliver positive social, environmental and recreational outcomes, while promoting community participation, inclusion and cohesion.”