Julie Ramsay: 3rd Space
Weekends are much more fun thanks to Jules’s get-togethers
Weekends are often a time people spend with their loved ones, but Jules Ramsay gives up hers to be there for those who would otherwise be alone.
As the manager of the weekend activities program at 3rd Space, an inner-city drop-in centre for homeless and marginalised people in Fortitude Valley, Jules works tirelessly so her visitors can have a bit of fun while the rest of the world is at play.
“I’m trying to empower our visitors by giving them experiences that they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to have, which can often just mean something simple like going to a football game,” says Jules, who was a volunteer before she took up the weekend position.
But it’s not all fun. Jules firmly believes in the idea of a hand up rather than a handout and offers a range of educational courses and classes to improve work readiness and access to services.
She knows every visitor by name and is always careful to reflect and celebrate everyone’s cultural background, particularly Indigenous people.
Jules has been known to reach into her own pocket to expand her knowledge and the range of activities on offer.
In one recent example, she worked with a local Bunnings store to create an urban food forest so the centre’s visitors could have an opportunity to learn gardening and carpentry skills.
“Many of our visitors are guys who have been skilled tradesmen with homes and families before falling into a trap and losing it all, so giving them the responsibility of looking after a garden is great in terms of helping them believe in themselves again,” she says.
Jules says she is “happy but slightly embarrassed” to have been voted a Westfield Local Hero by her community.
The centre plans to spend its $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant on arranging more exciting off-site activities and expanding the program to other days of the week.
“If once a month I was able to take people somewhere simple like going fishing, to have a chinwag and lunch together in nature, that would be incredible,” Jules says.