Tidy Up Taree unleashes community pride

GRAHAM Brown has been inundated with phone calls and people stopping him down the street to comment on the success of Tidy Up Taree.

"There's a real buzz about the place, it's infectious," beamed Graham, who is still on a high after the success of Saturday's community working bee.

"It's just been wonderful to see and it's the community pride that's evident that's got me really excited."

After months of organising and campaigning more than 150 volunteers converged on Victoria and Pulteney Streets to spruce up shopfronts, pavements and old buildings and help to rebuild some community sprirt among locals.

"That was the main aim of the Tidy Up Taree initiative," explained Graham.

"I just wanted to get people thinking about their community and ways they can help to make things better for everyone.

"I'm a firm believer that love turns a house into a home and it's certainly love that turns a town into a community," he added.

Those getting their hands dirty ranged in age with a two-year-old joining in the tidy up with the rest of the family.

So where to from here?

Graham said there's no way he could back away from the initiative now and there's already talk of the tidy up becoming a quarterly event for the community.

"It's a real family day, there's been so many great stories coming out of it and people are really keen to see it continue on."

A self-confessed "do-er" Graham isn't content with just tidying up the CBD and he's urging the wider community to get together and look at ways they can improve their own streets and neighbourhoods.

"I don't want to just clean up a couple of streets, I want to commit to whole blocks in the future and let that enthusiasm filter out around the community," he said.

"A challenge for right now is to get your street together and do an hour's work, maybe before a street Christmas party, and work up that thirst for the night," he laughed.

"I like to go outside and have a look at my place and think 'does it present the way I want it to'."

Graham applauded Greater Taree City Council for its assistance with the initiative, along with a list of sponsors that included different businesses and community groups who not only donated money and items, but also turned up on the day to help out (see page 2).

"We couldn't have done it without them, their generosity and work is part of what makes this community great," added Graham.

And Graham and Tidy Up Taree team are welcoming any feedback or ideas people might have for future projects across the Manning.

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