Volunteers, donations help youth housing project move forward

Now high school students are pitching in on Habitat for Humanity's Studio Purpose project in Murray Bridge, too.

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Max Marchetti, Dustin Katae and Anthony Bland look forward to getting started on a Habitat for Humanity housing project in Murray Bridge. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

Donations worth almost $100,000 are powering a construction project for at-risk youth in Murray Bridge – and more than a dozen teenagers have signed up to help.

The year 11 students from the Lower Murray Trade Training Centre visited the site of Habitat for Humanity’s Studio Purpose project last Thursday.

The non-profit organisation is transforming a duplex in Murray Bridge’s south into four residential units for people aged 15 to 21 who have nowhere else to live.

The project has been made possible by a fundraising campaign which has almost reached its initial target, plus pro bono work from local businesses including Ridleys SA, Terminix, RS Nance and structural engineer Robert C Frazer.

Over the coming months, the Doorways to Construction students will add to that effort.

Student Max Marchetti said he looked forward to getting out of the classroom and onto the construction site – “I like being hands-on”.

So far asbestos has been removed, interior walls knocked out, underground plumbing installed and other preparatory work undertaken.

Firewalls will soon be erected between each of the units so the build can really get going.

Habitat for Humanity’s Ben Sarre said engaging students to work on construction projects was one way the organisation could have a positive impact on the community.

He thanked the local businesses whose “phenomenal” response would also help the project go ahead.

“We’ve had cabinetmakers commit to making the kitchens, offers from plumbers and electricians donating labour, for the firewalls some material will be donated to us…” he said.

“Murray Bridge businesses have really responded incredibly generously.”

Studio Purpose is not the first project Habitat for Humanity has undertaken locally – its volunteers built a home in the Pathways area in 2013 – and Mr Sarre said it would not likely be the last, either.

“There are significant housing challenges that face regional South Australia,” he said.

“This project for us will hopefully be the first of several projects we’d like to undertake, and not just in Murray Bridge.

“Housing is becoming less affordable for a larger and larger part of the population.”