South East Water has recently welcomed Member for Carrum, the Hon. Sonya Kilkenny’s announcement of a grant supporting Carrum Downs Secondary College with the creation of a meeting place for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. 
Representing Minister for Water Harriet Shing, Member for Carrum the Hon. Sonya Kilkenny visited the school which will soon feature a native food garden and ‘meeting place’ encouraging cultural exploration and learning through education, cooking and storytelling. The project will be brought to life through a $4,200 grant provided by South East Water’s community grants program. 
The Aboriginal-inspired native food garden will also provide opportunities for students to cook food at the school’s cafe to celebrate and fundraise for future Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander initiatives.  

The project includes collaboration with local Aboriginal businesses, with a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony by Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation (BLCAC), native plants sourced from Willum Warrain Aboriginal Bush Nursery, and featuring artwork from Kaptify Bunurong Artist, Adam Magennis in collaboration with students. 

Acting Principal Carrum Downs Secondary College, Michael Melfi said the meeting place and native food garden provided educational and wellbeing benefits for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. 

“Providing an inclusive environment in which students are encouraged to share, learn, explore and participate in cultural activities has been shown to improve learning, health and wellbeing outcomes”.
Carrum Downs Secondary College Acting Principal, Michael Melfi

South East Water Managing Director, Lara Olsen said the organisation was proud to support Carrum Downs Secondary College as a recipient of its 2023 Community Grants program.

“The meeting place is an amazing project that will enhance the cultural identity, wellbeing and education of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in our community. We look forward to seeing the benefits of this project connecting students with Country.” 
Managing Director South East Water, Lara Olsen

Now in its fourth year, South East Water’s Community Grants program has provided over $320,000 to 66 community groups across Melbourne’s south-east, helping make communities better places to live.

For more community grants success stories

Image above: Carrum Downs Secondary College students in the native garden with plants sourced from Willum Warrain Aboriginal Bush Nursery.

Top image:  
L:R: General Manager Strategy and Stakeholder, Karen Lau; Managing Director, Lara Olsen; Acting Principal Carrum Downs SC Micahel Melfi; Inclusion Leader Carrum Downs SC, Andrew McCrory; Kaptify Bunurong Artist, Adam Magennis; Member for Carrum, The Hon. Sonya Kilkenny; Aboriginal Community Partnerships Advisor, Kylie Armstrong with Koori students from Carrum Downs SC.

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