Photo: Before and after – rooms at The Winsome are currently being transformed, to welcome men living without a home in the Lismore region
The Winsome in Lismore is a pub with no beer. In 2009, the Hotel was bought by the Lismore Soup Kitchen, who opened the Winsome Café to serve meals to people doing it tough and provide low cost accommodation for those seeking pathways out of homelessness.
The Winsome café and grounds have been closed to day visitors for a number of months due to COVID-19. However, they have continued to provide hot take away meals through a servery at the front veranda, while protecting volunteer kitchen team members.
Accommodation services at the Winsome are focused on transitional housing for marginalised men. Thankfully, these residents have been able to continue staying at the Winsome, with several support service providers maintaining client contact by phone or pavement visits.
They have also continued to progress the Winsome Homeless to Home Project. Thanks to a NRCF Community Grant, supported by the James Frizelle Charitable Foundation, the team are halfway through repainting, recarpeting, and repairing four of the accommodation rooms.
The project is utilising volunteer resident labour to strip and repair, paint and plaster walls, prepare the metal ceilings and remove the old carpet prior to the professional laying of new woollen underlay and carpet. Involving resident volunteers in the project has helped to improve their self-esteem and confidence, while obtaining basic plastering and painting skills.
“Without the support of the Winsome, I would not have been able to have started my business, Bed for Plants,” said resident Shane Smith. “They gave me the opportunity, and a space to work in. It is the support of the Winsome that allows you to go out into the world, with a full belly and some kind words, it just makes things that bit easier.”
Current refurbishments are part of an ongoing project at the Winsome. Of the 18 Winsome residential rooms, 15 that required repainting and new carpets over several years have all been funded through the NRCF. These rooms will continue to welcome men living without a home to a new life by providing them with a private, safe space to call home – a vital foundation to rebuilding their lives.
“The Winsome Management Committee is so grateful to the NRCF for their commitment and belief in what we have jointly been able to achieve over the past 6 or 7 years,” said Paul Murphy, Winsome Centre Manager.