Pardelup Prison Farm inmates bring smiles to study-from-home kids

Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
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Mt Barker police officer-in-charge Sgt David Johnson, left, Pardelup Prison Farm Supt Jodi Miller, MBCC's Kelly, 10, Branden, 8, Malinda, 5 and Jess Downer with principal Andrew Fraser.
Camera IconMt Barker police officer-in-charge Sgt David Johnson, left, Pardelup Prison Farm Supt Jodi Miller, MBCC's Kelly, 10, Branden, 8, Malinda, 5 and Jess Downer with principal Andrew Fraser. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

Inmates at the Pardelup Prison Farm have donated 100 hand-made desks to Mt Barker Community College students studying at home during the COVID-19 crisis.

The wooden desks were crafted in just two weeks and delivered to students in need of a secure space to learn at home.

The move is part of Operation Helping Hands, a Statewide initiative by Corrective Services Commissioner Tony Hassall to task inmates with projects that will directly support communities during the pandemic.

After seeing her kids sprawled across the kitchen table while studying from home, Supt Jodi Miller suggested that the Mt Barker inmates create study spaces for other families while their usual workshop program was on hold.

She said being back on the tools had helped inmates continue their rehabilitation during the crisis.

“Even on the day when the truck was taking the desks they were still polishing them and they took real pride in the finished product,” she said.

“Then seeing the children at the other end receiving their desks, it was a really feel good moment to know that the department is able to do this kind of work for the community.”

The generosity didn’t stop there, with Mount Barker Co-operative chief executive Gary Tempany donating 100 stationary packs and 50 chairs to complete students’ study set-up.

Mount Barker Police sergeant David Johnson also did his part, taking to the radio to source computers for students working from home.

Mt Barker Community College principal Andrew Fraser said although 71 per cent of students had returned to school for Term 2, the donations would be a lasting benefit for students.

“The smiles on the kids’ faces who came to pick up the desks and stationery supplies said it all,” he said.

“They realised this was something that they would take home, look after and cherish - because it is their own space.”

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