partnering stronger communities

keeping indigenous children in school 
A project, made possible by the Clontarf Foundation and Alcoa Foundation, aimed at boosting Leda Primary School attendance rates will continue following a successful first 12 months.  Leda Primary School is near to our Kwinana Refinery in WA.

The Clontarf Foundation aims to keep Indigenous boys at school until the end of year 12, helping them develop life skills and secure employment.  Using Australian Rules Football as the hook, Clontarf runs football academies in partnership with secondary schools across the country. Given students can only take part in football activities if they also participate in regular school classes, the program acts as an incentive for the boys to attend school.

Alcoa has partnered with Clontarf since 2008 – our investment directed at the Gilmore and South-West Clontarf football academies close to our operations.

Separately the Leda Primary School outreach program was initiated by Clontarf Foundation with funding assistance from Alcoa.  Its mission is to assist Indigenous primary students make the transition to Gilmore College as well as, importantly, offering a platform for the senior boys to develop their communication and leadership skills.

Every week, senior students from Clontarf’s Gilmore Academy visit the primary boys at Leda, helping with school and sport. 

Year 5 student, Tyson Headland, looks forward to each visit: “We have to come to school and be good.  I have to respect my friends and my teacher.”

Using a range of activities in and out of the classroom to engage the young Aboriginal boys, the program has been welcomed by the teaching staff.

“The Clontarf students show great leadership and act as role models for our younger boys, teaching them patience and perseverance in the activities they do,” Leda Primary School Principal Sue Knight said. 

“The senior boys come and talk about what they are doing in the high school, the career paths they hope to follow and the obstacles they have overcome to get where they are,” she said.

Teachers and support workers at Leda have the added benefit of Clontarf staff member, Matthew Clucas, being able to help with complex behavioural issues.

“Matthew is a great resource to provide feedback on the children and he is often able to delve into deep-seated issues that we can unravel,” according to Ms Knight.

Mr Clucas said: “Creating the expectation that school is the normal thing to do and that everyone completes Year 12 is the motivator for the program.” 

“Alcoa has supported Clontarf since we started at Gilmore College in 2008 and it is great that it has also got behind the primary programs we run at Leda, Medina and North Parmelia primary schools,” said Mr Clucas.

Sydney Hart, a Year 12 student at Gilmore College’s Clontarf Academy, said the best part is seeing the little kids come to school: “I want them to get to Gilmore College and get them to attend 100%, just like we do.”

“Each time we visit, we talk to the teachers and Ms Knight, and then organise the younger boys with an activity,” said Brent Baron, another Gilmore Clontarf student involved in the program.

Ms Knight says the changes in the younger boys are obvious: “Our staff is seeing significant rewards with the students’ ability to listen and change their own behaviour.” 

Each week’s activity includes a component of building self-esteem and practising the social skills of respect and responsibility.

new funding for wa’s swan river
Nearly 70 environmental initiatives, aimed at protecting the health of Western Australia’s iconic Swan River, have been given a boost thanks to a $420,000 investment from the Swan River Trust and Alcoa Landcare Program (SALP).

Today 33 local environmental groups, spanning from Chittering to Rockingham, received grants for on-ground revegetation and rehabilitation projects in the Swan and Canning river catchments.

SALP, now in its 13th year, is funded by Alcoa of Australia and the Swan River Trust, and administered by the Perth Region Natural Resource Management (NRM). The Program aims to provide easy access to funding for grass-roots community organisations working on a broad range of environmental initiatives.

Throughout 2011, the grant recipients will undertake over 69 projects, including: foreshore, wetland and bushland restoration, the building of drains for living stream projects, and the creation of bushland corridors.

Alcoa of Australia Managing Director Alan Cransberg said: “The Swan is so much more than just a river, it’s something which sets Perth apart. When people think Perth, they think of the Swan – the river that’s part of our way of life here in the West.

“But more than that, the Swan is fundamental to the natural eco-systems of our city, and because it does have such a critical place in our environment, we all need to do whatever we can to protect and conserve it for future generations - this is precisely the reason why Alcoa is a founding partner of this program.”

“What is special about SALP is that it enables us to make a difference at truly grass-roots level, and build the capacity of many community-based landcare groups.

“Rehab and conservation is something we at Alcoa can particularly relate to, because of our own world class mine site rehabilitation work as recognised by the United Nations. I appreciate how difficult and time consuming the rehab process is, and the dedication it requires. The re-establishment of a self-sustaining and bio-diverse eco-system takes years of hard work.

“So, I particularly thank all the community volunteers involved in SALP who give up their personal time to protect and restore the environment for us all to enjoy – their hard work, year after year, is very much appreciated.”

The Wandi Landcare Group has received over $15,000 from SALP, with over $8000 to be administered by the Town of Kwinana.

The Town’s Bushcare Officer, Anglea Jakob, said the money will be invested in the Magenup Lake Implementation Plan.

“This project will continue to focus on revegetating the entrance area of the Lake Magenup Community Nature Trail.  The Lake is an important ecological link between properties in the west and Jandakot Regional Park to the east.

“The large open area is host to a healthy population of western grey kangaroos, as well as many birds of prey, which are often seen hovering overhead.  The revegetation and weed control to be undertaken this year will continue to improve the quality of habitat for a range of animals, and assist in improving the structure of the vegetation.”

The Baldivis Children’s Forest Inc, on Mandurah Road, has received over $9000.

Project Officer, Jo Tregonning, said: “We’ll add to work in previous years to increase biodiversity, provide habit and food for displaced native fauna and create an ecological linkage between the Conservation Category Outridge Swamp and Lake Walyungup (Rockingham Lakes Regional Park).

“With rapid urban development since 2005, the Baldivis Children’s Forest has become an important refuge for displaced fauna and a beautiful example of the region’s original fauna.  As housing encroaches on the Baldivis region, the reserve has developed into a much loved focus for the community for recreation and events.

“Alcoa has been a partner with this project since its inception – we are a not-for-profit community group so unless we can raise funds through grants and/or sponsorship then our programs do not run.”

Alcoa is in the first year of a new three year SALP agreement, committed to funding the program through to the end of 2013.

SALP falls under Alcoa’s sustainable environment community investment portfolio, which also includes Alcoa’s signature 29 year national partnership with Greening Australia.

The Perth Region NRM is now accepting applications for the 2012 SALP funding round with application forms available online at:

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Leda Primary School students Terrence Hayward and Tyson Headland.

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Students with Principal Sue Knight (rear right) and Clontarf leaders.

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Matthew Clucas talks about the importance of school.

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Swan River Trust and Alcoa Landcare Program - scroll down for full story. Image thanks to the Swan River Trust.