A FEW “bad eggs” intent on disrupting the peace is all that is holding the Coledale community back from breaking the stigma that has dogged it for years.
That was the view of the residents and support workers who gathered for a workshop at the Coledale Community Centre yesterday.
Those assembled were adamant that the area’s reputation as a hotbed of crime should not overshadow all the progress the community had made.
Alvina Richens, 77, said she had lived in Coledale for about 10 years since moving from Moree and she had rarely, if ever, been affected by anti-social behaviour.
“It is a safe community,” Mrs Richens said. “There is good community spirit here. I would like to see more people come to things like this, though.”
Northern Links NSW tenant support worker Kate Thomas said a big part of the social unrest in Coledale was caused by people with no connection to the area being placed there in public housing.
“It’s only a few bad eggs that do it and they’re people who are brought in and dropped in the middle of an already existing community without reference to the things that make that community strong,” Ms Thomas said.
“The fact is people here have gifts and talents that no one has dreamed about. They’re dismissed as losers and nothing could be further from the truth.”
Wendy LeBlanc, who manages Northern Links NSW, said Housing NSW’s new focus on “person-centred planning”, which is designed to humanise people in the social housing system would be a good step forward.
“We’ve had people say to us over and over again that they are treated like a number, rather than a person,” Dr LeBlanc said.
“That means people don’t get heard and they slip through the net, so what we’re doing here today is teaching them how to think positively about themselves and their community.”