WOMEN OF THE WEST – ASHLEY CARR
A little bit about Ashley Carr
How long have you lived in the west?
We have been in Footscray since 2007, eight years! Time flies when you’re having fun!
What do you love about living in the west?
I grew up in the south east and spent my late teens/early 20s in the eastern suburbs. One thing I noticed (in retrospect, after moving here) is that out in Doncaster where we used to live, many of the houses are surrounded by tall fences and you often need to use an intercom to talk to whomever is behind the fence. People drive out their gate in the morning to go to work and back in behind their fences after work. In the two years we lived there I spoke to my neighbour only twice.
In Footscray the fences are low enough to chat over and I have met so many great people through over-fence chats. People garden in their front yards and share their lives together in a much more natural way.
I love the multi-culturalism, the food, the ease with which you can make friends. There is a creative vibe that is hard to find in other places and we are absolutely spoilt for choice with regard to Primary Schools.
Where is your favourite place to get coffee?
I have a few. I don’t get there as often as I’d like but I love the boys at Guerrilla Espresso. I think a few wonderful women of the west have a crush on the lovely Jag who is super generous and knowledgable about coffee. I also love Pod at Post Industrial Design and you’ll see me on many mornings frequenting the W48 coffee cart at Sims.
Where did the idea for your organisation/work come from?
I work for a small community outreach which is part of The Salvation Army. We have been in operation for eleven years now. The idea originally came from the desire to provide a loving family and some practical supports to people who society often casts aside. It is a Christian organisation but we are a progressive bunch. Inclusion and love is at the centre of our work and we don’t push an agenda – come as you are.
We have a number of community activities running throughout the week including a women’s group, a community soccer competition and a communal meal. We also provide accommodation for an asylum seeker family.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
Personally, I think my greatest achievement is sticking it out for so long. It can be pretty full on working in a caring profession but the rewards are so great. I received a beautiful voice-mail from one of the women I work with the other day. I had supported her to a very scary doctors appointment and she felt really happy and heard afterwards. In the voice-mail she thanked me for my support and said “I just want you to know how much it meant to me that you were there, I love you, I value you”. What more could you ask for hey? On days like that my job satisfaction is sky high.
Collectively, I think our greatest achievement is becoming family to those who don’t have one. Sharing birthdays, special holidays, weddings, funerals. Life is tough when you’re alone but it’s also tough to support people who have been hurt by the world. Hurt people, hurt people as they say.
What’s coming up for you and your organisation?
I’m currently developing a gardening playgroup for asylum seeker parents and their kids based on the permaculture playgroup model. I’m looking for green-thumbed volunteers if anyone is keen on being part of it.
We are currently in the process of designing a social enterprise – a community music program which will be accessible to children from disadvantaged backgrounds as well as those who aren’t. Our pilot program will be starting soon so if you know any kids who would benefit from some music lessons please get in touch. We are starting with a Ukulele ensemble and we are planning to concurrently start a community uke band which will be open to all ages and the students will be able to work towards joining. Sounds super fun huh?! You should totally join.
You can get in touch with me by email firstname.lastname@example.org we don’t have a website because we are in the dark ages but I’m happy to meet for coffees and chats!
Women of the West is a not for profit organisation providing safe supportive events for women to create, inspire and share. Here in the Westsider, we share some of the fabulous women from within our midst, with you. If you wish to celebrate with more fabulous women of the west, please ‘like’ our Facebook page and come along to our next event: facebook.com/womenofthewest or email email@example.com