Catherine Donnelly of the Salt Foundation. Catherine is the partner of Roger Connelly, our recent guest speaker who explained the history of the Salt Foundation and its current involvement in the West Heidelberg Community – particularly trying to bring the socially isolated into the community.

Catherine gave us a brief account of some of her own current activities in West Heidelberg such as the provision of Community Lunches which might attract 70 people, adults and children, with extra “take home” packs for “oldies” unable to attend. Her own background growing up in North Melbourne gave her a comfort and familiarity with a very mixed community. The lack of education in many of the parents led to a lack of knowledge of food selection, variety and preparation and a reliance on commercially available fast food. The idea was to show how simple meals could be easily and economically prepared which were much preferable.

At the Waterdale Primary School every Friday night, meals are now being offered. Last week it was 4 large lasagnas, served on “long tables”, the tables covered with butcher’s paper so children could draw on it – expressing what they could not express verbally. Moving examples were given of participants in these meals drawn out of social isolation into contact with their community and offered personal support.

Her own input was huge – preparing a dinner party for 45+ people every week took at least 2 days. The co-operation of the Salt Foundation, Brother Harry’s Exodus Foundation and Adult Literacy in establishing Alice House, an open community house in West Heidelberg, is a project now well under way; a project our Community Service Committee has supported and is looking to further support.