Rug up for homeless

LITTLE pigs and mums, dads and their kids pulled on their winter coats, handed out their gold coins and joined in Rug Up Ballarat.

The annual family event was a popular draw-card at the end of the school holidays during the cold Ballarat weather.

Families enjoyed browsing beautiful market stalls while children watched entertainers and engaged with the city’s artistic fabric by making pictures to grace the walls of the art gallery.

The Leadership Ballarat event aims to engage young people with the broader community and this year focused on raising awareness about and funds to help tackle homelessness.

Communications manager Chloe Biggin said hundreds were expected to have walked through the Mining Exchange doors during the two-day event.

Event takings will be donated to support Uniting Cares BreezeWay meals program. The program receives no government funding and needs to raise $140,000 to operate every year.

BreezeWay provides a hot nutritious two-course midday meal every day of the year for people who are marginalised, homeless, living in insecure accommodation and have no cooking facilities. It serves about 60 meals daily or more than 1700 meals a month.

Take-away meals are also provided which include sandwiches and fruit outside the lunchtime meal.

“We wanted this event to raise awareness of homelessness in Ballarat,” Ms Biggin said.

“We are about to launch an initiative looking at ways of addressing homelessness in Ballarat. We will be looking for ways we can support our community.” 

RUG UP: One of the three little pigs, Sienna Nash, provides entertainment for children at the Rug Up Ballarat festival. Picture: Lachlan Bence

RUG UP: One of the three little pigs, Sienna Nash, provides entertainment for children at the Rug Up Ballarat festival. Picture: Lachlan Bence

Members from One Humanity Shower Bus Inc were also present trying to recruit volunteers for Ballarat’s shower bus – which is expected to be opened in a few months. 

Ballarat’s Constantine Osuchukwu is the driving force behind the shower bus and his philosophy reflects Leadership Ballarat’s newest initiative.

“It’s about understanding we are human together. If one of us is diminished, then all of Ballarat is diminished.”