14 September 2022

Hillston potato farmer wins painting for raffle competition she forgot she entered

| Oliver Jacques
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Carolyn Williams stands next to Indigenous painting.

Carolyn Williams with the painting she donated. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Hillston potato farmer Bridget Rennie received a pleasant surprise on Monday 12 September, when she was informed she’d won a raffle competition she didn’t remember entering.

In July, renowned Griffith Indigenous artist Carolyn Williams donated one of her paintings to the charity Big Brother Big Sister Australia (BBBSA), to help them raise funds to kick-start a new youth mentoring and suicide prevention program in town.

The local BBBSA committee spent the past six weeks selling raffle tickets, raising $1400 that will go towards the hiring of a mentoring co-ordinator and setting up an office in Griffith.

On Monday, Griffith BBBSA chairman Michael Borg drew the winning raffle ticket at the Griffith Community Centre, then phoned Ms Rennie to let her know she’d been successful in the BBBSA raffle.

“Oh really, what is that?” Ms Rennie asked when answering the call.

“Hmm, was that the two lovely ladies I bought some tickets from outside Griffith Coles?” she said after some prompting.

Ms Rennie had spontaneously decided to buy 20 tickets on a weekly shopping trip from Hillston to Griffith.

“I don’t really know much about the charity, but we like to support local causes whenever we can. I’m delighted to have won.”

READ ALSO Indigenous artist donates painting to fund Griffith suicide protection program

Big Brother Big Sister Australia (BBBSA) is an organisation that helps support young people and their families through mentoring, with the aim of preventing further loss of young people due to suicide.

BBBSA recruits, trains and vets adult mentor volunteers, who are matched up with a child or young person aged between 7 and 17 years with similar interests. The not-for-profit group have an established presence in Sydney, Melbourne and regional Victoria and are now looking to expand into the Riverina. BBBSA have advertised the paid position of Griffith mentoring coordinator, who will recruit and vet volunteer mentors locally once hired.

BBBSA poster

BBBSA poster. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Artist Carolyn Williams was present at the drawing of the raffle on Monday.

“It’s nice to see that my work will be on display in Hillston,” she said.

READ ALSO Griffith Aboriginal Medical Service welcomes two new mental health professionals

Ms Williams was motivated to donate her artwork due to her passion for improving mental health outcomes among young people.

“Griffith is a town that has had a lot of suicides recently,” Ms Williams said.

“There is a lack of mentors and support for young people, particularly Indigenous youth.

“That’s why I was really keen to get behind this cause.”

Ms Williams also works as a juvenile justice caseworker and uses art therapy to help get her young clients back on track.

If you’d like to find out more about BBBSA Griffith or support their work, please contact them through the Big Brother Big Sisters Riverina Facebook Page.

If this story has raised concerns for you, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. If someone is in immediate danger, call triple zero. Information and support for anxiety, depression and suicide prevention are available through Beyond Blue.

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