How One Tree worked with Yarralin community to build a house and a community

How One Tree worked with Yarralin community to build a house and a community

by Freya Lucas

October 15, 2021

Working in remote communities comes with unique challenges, especially in sectors which are already experiencing workforce challenges, such as in early childhood education and care (ECEC). 

 

Delivering ECEC in communities which are separated from major towns, hubs, and services by hundreds of kilometres of unsealed road. Because of this, few things are quick, simple, or easy. In fact, delivering an early education or a community service in these places requires a whole new level of logistics.

 

One Tree Community Services have become experts at “turning challenges into possibilities.” In  the remote community of Yarralin in the Northern Territory, the team has experienced challenges in terms of recruiting qualified staff from outside the community. 

 

To overcome these challenges, One Tree hires qualified educators who move to Yarralin to support and guide local trainees. Eventually, local trainees will become qualified educators and they will be trained to successfully run the service in the long term.

 

This plan was working well, however there was one large obstacle that was making it difficult to continue. Yarralin is a community of 350 people and only 61 homes. Compounding the challenges, no new homes had been built in the community for 20 years, leaving One Tree with the right people to staff the service, but nowhere for them to live. 

 

“Considering the housing crisis in the community, we were unlikely to find a staff house anytime soon,” a spokesperson explained. “Luckily, the community services team aren’t afraid of doing things they’ve never done before.” 

 

When the team couldn’t find a house, the team decided they would build one.

 

After securing funding from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) the team worked with The Northern Land Council and Ngalkarrang-Wulungann Aboriginal Trust to find a block of land to lease.

 

Power and water were connected while the house was built off-site in Darwin. Once finished, the house was put on two trucks and made the long journey to its new home. Sarah Dingle and Tassia McCaffery managed every stage of the build, transport and set up, ensuring the community was consulted every step of the way.

 

Owing to the remoteness of the community, contractors were brought in, something which benefited the community in surprising ways, a One Tree spokesperson said. 

 

An estimated $85,000 was spent at the shop, short-term accommodation, service station and on hiring local staff and machinery. The building company also built a community garden for the people of Yarralin before they wrapped up the project.

 

The house is now fully furnished and enjoyed by the team at the service.

 

For more information about One Tree, please visit the website, here.

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