Westies at Play Archives - The Westies

Priyanka – Kohpi & Co

When I heard about Priyanka’s idea of creating a space where people could come to learn a new skill, connect with others and stretch their creativity, I was immediately in support of it. Learning from community has always been part of human behaviour, and it seems so strange that this is no longer the way we are discovering new skills. Kohpi & Co are bringing collaborative, community-based workshops to Western Sydney, creating a space where we can express the creative part of us that we ALL have. Priyanka and I had a great conversation about what taking and idea to an actual project and what creativity means to us, read on friends. 

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Refugee Camp in My Neighbourhood

I just spent the afternoon in a refugee camp.

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Steve Hodgson – The Dad’s Cooperative Project

Men. They get a bit of a bad wrap –  we expect the world from them, be tough, know it all and most importantly show as little emotion as possible. Thankfully times are changing and Dads are no longer seen as sidekicks in the parenting game, but equals.

Thankfully, most men are wonderful human beings who are trying to work out this world and want to be part of their kids lives in a meaningful way, navigating the role of being a Dad as best they can with very little resources, a lack of information and few places to turn to.

After becoming a Dad for the second time, Steve Hodgson decided to start The Dad’s Cooperative Project and create a place for Dad’s to get together with their kids and spend some time swapping experiences, trade stories and support each other to thrive as role models and fathers. The Dad’s Cooperative Project is a wonderful initiative with Parramatta Council supporting this vital group, we were super happy to see this group starting in the West and would love to see it spread across the country.

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Paul James – Nepean Men’s Shed

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To say The Nepean’s Men Shed is saving lives is not exaggerating. Retired men in their 60’s is not exactly an age group that is spoilt for choice with activities to do; and with grown families, no job, a lifetime of bottled-up emotions and bad health creeping in, things can start to go downhill pretty quickly.

The Nepean Men’s Shed started life as the Lower Mountains Men’s Shed in 2010 in a 12 meter square space in Mount Riverview. After several years of looking for a more suitable location and then a few more years making that location suitable to council regulations, they officially opened earlier this year in Orchard Hills in a giant 900 square meter shed – making it the largest Men’s Shed out of over 1000 in Australia.  

The Australian Men’s Shed Association (AMSA) started in 2007 as a way to address the issues men face such a loneliness, depression and other preventable diseases that can arise from isolation. The Men’s Shed movement has now become one of the most powerful tools in addressing health and wellbeing and helping men to once again become valued and productive members of our community.

This interview is pretty personal as the guy I chatted to is my Dad and I’ve witnessed first hand the power of The Men’s Shed and the importance of connection and belonging after having given your whole life to working and supporting your family (who are now grown but still act like spoilt brats and tell you to make your own cup of tea). 
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Amna Karra-Hussan – Auburn Giants

Auburn Giants

When Amna Karra-Hussan decided she wanted to play AFL there was one issue that would stop most people in their tracks – no women’s AFL team existed in Western Sydney. Not seeing it as an issue, Aman decided to start her own and is now President of the Auburn Giants who have just entered their seventh season with all signs pointing towards a premiership for the club in the not too distant future. On a chilly autumn evening The Westies stopped by a training session to chat with one of the most warm, endearing and motivated people you are likely to meet. We chatted about how Amna started the club, the importance of women playing sport (far more than exercise) and the doors that open for you once you start knocking.  Continue Reading

Bankstown Poetry Slam – Sara Mansour

Poetry Slam

A visit to Bankstown Poetry Slam had been on the radar for quite some time, last month I finally made it there. It was my first experience of watching people perform poetry and I very quickly figured out why it’s called a slam. The words being spat out by the brave performers hit you with force and an energy that embeds them deep in your conscience. Poems about lost grandparents, lives yet to be lived, isolation, love – topics so common no one in the room would struggle to understand them, yet the room was full of people who were less then common. It was a room full of diversity, every age group was represented, the gender split was even. There were hijabs and hair braids, beards and bare skin. It was a united nations of people whose common goal was expression. There was no bar, no drinks were served yet the energy was intoxicating. It was thick with joy, with acceptance and support. I left the place on a total high waiting for my next hit.

Before the night started I managed to catch the beautiful Sara Mansour, one of the co-founders of Bankstown Poetry Slam for a quick chat about how BPS came to be and the unexpected rewards it has brought.     Continue Reading