25 September 2023

Wujal Wujal Justice Group receives huge grant for community hub

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Group photo of Wujal Wujal traditional owners standing on Country.

The Gambling Community Benefit Fund will help the Wujal Wujal Justice Group to provide even more services for their community.

A NEW community hub will be built in Wujal Wujal after the local justice group received a massive $100,000 grant.

The Wujal Wujal Justice Group was awarded $100,000 under the annual super round of the Gambling Community Benefit Fund.

They will put their funding towards a multi-purpose community hub which will act as a safe gathering place, storage space for camping gear, and even an unofficial evacuation centre.

Wujal Wujal Justice Group CEO Joh Anthonis said it was an exciting opportunity to better reach the community.

“We really put a lot of time and energy into cultural healing on Country, trying to get offenders away from the pressures of community life and re-engaging them with their Elders and positive role models,” he said.

The group often takes community members on camping trips to engage with Elders and connect with Country, but don’t have a welcoming place to gather and use a shipping container to store their camping gear.

“We’ve got offices but they’re kind of formal Justice Group offices where people sometimes are a bit afraid to come in here or they feel like the community is watching them when they come in here,” Mr Anthonis said.

“It’ll be a place in the community where our staff can engage with people that isn’t as threatening as our offices.”

The shed to be built will include a kitchen and bathroom to be used for various community events, but also a backup generator to be an unofficial evacuation centre during cyclones and other emergencies.

He explained that Wujal Wujal didn’t have a dedicated cyclone shelter and that the emergency plan for the community was to evacuate to Cooktown.

“Logistically, that’s just nuts,” he said.

The Wujal Wujal Justice Group, in partnership with the local Lutheran Church, will match the amount of the grant, putting a total of $200,000 towards the new community hub.

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