Strathnairn charity house turns the sod on a generous community gesture

Genevieve Jacobs 16 March 2021
Di Karghas Bray, Graciete Ferreira and Emma Sckrabei

Hands Across Canberra chair Di Karghas Bray, MBA president Graciete Ferreira and Ginninderry’s Emma Sckrabei turn the sod on the Strathnairn charity house project. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

It’s not often that you get teary at a building site, but that’s what happened at Ginninderry when a collaboration between developers, builders and the community was launched, exemplifying Canberra’s strong community spirit, close networks and support for our most vulnerable.

Multiple benefits will flow from the Strathnairn charity house, which will be built on Rachel Mackinson St with the support of Master Builders Association members, led by Kane Constructions.

The Ginninderry Joint Venture has made the project possible and proceeds will go to Hands Across Canberra in support of Karinya House, Pegasus Riding for the Disabled and Canberra City Care, all of whom operate in the West Belconnen area.


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A female architect and builder will lead the project, and every trade used in the project will have a female apprentice and participants from Ginninderry’s SPARK Women in Trades program, which will also use the project as a live training site.

Weekly news wrap with Genevieve Jacobs

In a big week for fundraising, Hands Across Canberra has teamed up with Ginninderry Community, Zango, building and real estate partners to launch the Strathnairn Charity House project, benefiting three local causes. This week's news update also covers the Check in CBR app, a renewed euthanasia debate and the city's best hot cross buns.

Posted by The RiotACT on Thursday, March 11, 2021

Master Builders Association ACT president Graciete Ferreira says that charity house projects are a powerful way to bring the construction sector together to create significant community impact.

“This is the fourth charity house project that the MBA has been involved with and it’s incredible to see the willingness of the local building and construction industry to jump on board,” she says.

“This project will see dozens of builders, apprentices, subcontractors and trade suppliers donate their time to deliver a quality home that represents the best of the local industry”.

Strathnairn charity house team

Dozens of builders, apprentices, subcontractors and trade suppliers will donate their time to deliver a quality home. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Kane Constructions has joined the project as lead builder and Jo Farrell, their ACT general manager, says that it will provide an excellent opportunity to develop women’s skills in the industry, where their participation rates have remained stubbornly low.

“The ACT Women’s Action Plan sets a target of achieving increased participation by women in the construction sector, but you can’t be what you can’t see, so this project is a great opportunity to shine a light on the impact that women can have in our industry,” she says.

“The impact of all of this will be a tangible demonstration of the opportunities available to women in the sector with a range of flow-on benefits and new employment pathways created.”

When the house is completed towards the end of this year, portal partner Zango will bring on a “dream team” of women agents, and a woman auctioneer will conduct the final auction.

The completed house in Rachel Mackinson St

A street view of what the completed house in Rachel Mackinson St will look like. Image: Supplied.

Ginninderry project director Steve Harding says the community impact of the project will extend beyond the final donation to Hands Across Canberra’s chosen West Belconnen causes.

“It provides us with an incredible opportunity to support local charities”, he says. “But by partnering with industry, we can deliver community benefits during construction as well through our SPARK Training and Employment Program.”

The Strathnairn charity house

The Strathnairn charity house as it will appear when completed from the rear. Image: Supplied.

Hands Across Canberra CEO Peter Gordon says the impact on Pegasus Riding for the Disabled, Karinya House and Canberra City Care Charnwood on the communities they serve will be significant.

“The selected charities provide an invaluable contribution to Canberra, and the proceeds from the charity house auction will allow them to continue to grow their impact.

“These are organisations that are making a genuine difference in our community, and I’m so pleased they’ve been selected to be charity partners on this project,” he said.


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