Springboard, the community organisation working with at-risk youth, received an unexpected boost this month when Fulton Hogan stepped in to pave and paint the potholed gravel carpark at its Sheepworld base, north of Warkworth.
Fulton Hogan described the initiative as a thank you to the support service, after it allowed the roading contractor to use its carpark as a staging area during its work on State Highway 1 at Dome Valley.
“While working on the Dome Valley resurfacing project, Fulton Hogan were blessed with the use of Sheepworld’s car park as a very generous lay down area,” it said in a statement.
“The provision of their carpark was a critical part of being able to deliver our work, even more so when issues arose and we needed to asphalt an additional 2km. Thousands of tonnes of asphalt and seal chip were deposited here throughout the works, while also providing refuge for machinery and vehicles during night shifts.”
“As a thank you, the large car park was rejuvenated with fresh millings after the Dome Valley works were completed,” Fulton Hogan said.
The “issues” referred to by the company relate to an episode in December when newly-laid chipseal peeled off after heavy rainfall, sticking to car tyres. Urgent remedial work was required and Fulton Hogan made compensation payments to owners of damaged vehicles.
“After they had the problem with the tar seal, they obviously had this product that was sitting there,” Springboard founder Gary Diprose said. “And they said, we want to come in and help Springboard.”
It was a real blessing, Diprose said, “because I didn’t know how we were going to upgrade this carpark”.
Going beyond just surfacing the area, Fulton Hogan then painted parking bays as well as a bus stop and pedestrian crossing, he said.
“They really pulled it out for us, made it look professional. It’s given everything a real facelift – that says yes, we’re open for business and wanting to see more people come.”
Springboard bought Sheepworld in 2021, moving there from its previous base in Snells Beach. It continues as a visitor attraction but is also used as a centre for training and supporting vulnerable young people.
In addition to the carpark treatment, Fulton Hogan sent representatives to talk to some of the young people at Springboard about civil engineering and work opportunities, Diprose said.
“It had the effect that hopefully can spark up some ideas for our young people to go down that line.
“Fulton Hogan came in and got right in behind the heart of what we do out here. It’s very humbling, but very exciting at the same time – it’s community, wrapping around the future of our young people.”
Fulton Hogan employees who took part in the talk were Matiu Spring, Colleen Paraten, Nic Norgrove and Jamiee Neha. The company said they “did an outstanding job representing us, talking about starting from the ground and working your way up, paving the way for women in the industry and the Fulton Hogan cadetship programme”.
Springboard management praised Matiu for talking about his entire journey and challenging the kids on how they think and Colleen for connecting to the kids and inspiring their girls in particular.
More mentors needed
Springboard is looking for more people in the community to step up as mentors, in a programme that the 21-year-old organisation has been running since 2008.
Mentors are trained, supported, and then matched up with one of the young people who have volunteered for the programme. They typically have weekly catchups with their young person, and make a commitment to do so for a year. Some then “graduate”, although many relationships continue beyond that one-year period, according to Springboard founder Gary Diprose, as mentors continue to “speak into the young person’s life”.
“It’s about taking an interest in a young person, who just wants someone making them feel special in their corner. That’s what’s making a massive difference.
“There are broader, complex issues that we’ve all got to [grasp], to help turn these young lives around,” he said. “And these young people can see that it’s not just a few people – there’s a whole army-load of people championing for them.”
People interested in mentoring opportunities can get in touch with Springboard on 09 425 4623 or at firstname.lastname@example.org