Parklea inmates create sculptures for DV campaign

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Inmates from Parklea Correctional Centre have put their metalwork skills to good use by creating a giant tea set to help raise awareness and promote discussion about domestic violence.

The concept was developed in partnership with Blacktown City Council as part of its annual Knit Bomb Project, which uses visually vibrant statements to say no to family and domestic violence.

The council asked for a tea pot and two cups and saucers to be created as sharing a cuppa is a great way to start a conversation.

Four inmates worked on the project under the supervision of correctional officers to construct a tea pot, measuring two metres by two metres, and two matching cups and saucers, one metre high and one metre wide, by building a steel frame and surrounding it with chicken wire.

The eye-catching sculptures were then “knit bombed” by the talented members of the Blacktown Library Knitting Group, overseen by Blacktown City Council’s Women’s Advisory Committee, who had knitted or crocheted squares in various colours and sizes and sewn them together.

The giant tea pot, cups and saucers are now on display at the Village Green, next to Blacktown City Council Chambers. Other items, such as trees, light poles, posts, and benches around the area, have also been “knit bombed” to mark 16 days of activism against violence in November.

Governor Paul Baker said the community partnership was forged after Blacktown City Council Community Development Manager Tony Barnden asked if the prison could participate in the project.

“We were keen to be involved in a community project, and the Knit Bomb initiative appeared to be within our capability and could provide meaningful work for the inmates,” Mr Baker said.

“Mr Barden was given a tour of our industries facilities, which includes a metal shop and a cabinet shop, to see how Parklea could participate.

“We are always looking for ways we can give back to the community and assist in the rehabilitation of our inmates, many of which are serving time for violence-related offences.

“This initiative provided a great opportunity to work with Blacktown City Council and contribute to a community project, while raising awareness of domestic violence and its many forms.

“Our officers who train the inmates in the metal shop have come up with an impressive design for the unique sculptures and the inmates have done a fantastic job to bring them to life and they should all be very proud.

“This partnership has been a great experience and we look forward to being involved in other projects where we have the capacity and capability.”

The display is on show at the Village Green until 17 December. The knitted squares used in the installation will be commercially washed and sewn into blankets for local charity organisations.

Now in its third year, the council initiative has provided blankets to the Birthing Unit, Blacktown Hospital; Quakers Hillside Nursing Home; One Meal, Blacktown; and the Blacktown City Animal Holding Facility.  Parklea Correctional Centre is operated by MTC-Broadspectrum on behalf of Corrective Services NSW.

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