Lifeline Central West book fair, May 2018

CALLING FOR SUPPORT: Lifeline Central West executive director Alex Ferguson said assistance from Bathurst Jail inmates is invaluable at each book fair. Photo: NADINE MORTON 051718nmbooks
CALLING FOR SUPPORT: Lifeline Central West executive director Alex Ferguson said assistance from Bathurst Jail inmates is invaluable at each book fair. Photo: NADINE MORTON 051718nmbooks

WITH 25 per cent of NSW now declared a drought zone the weekend’s book fair will go a long way to supporting farmers across the Bathurst region.

Held twice a year, the Lifeline Central West (LCW) book fair usually attracts hundreds of people to the two-day event and in the process raises tens of thousands of dollars for the charity.

“All of the money raised here goes into either training or running our three telecentres – Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo,” LCW executive officer Alex Ferguson said.

“As you can imagine in this tough time, this dry time, we have increased demand.

“Lifeline Central West is a bit different from some other Lifeline models in so far as we do a lot of work in community.

“[We’re] talking about the issues at the coalface and trying to deal with them at the coalface, with the 13 11 14 telephony system as a safety net.”

The biannual book fair has been running for the past nine years, earning around $30,000 each time, and this year the event will have around 24,000 books.

And, with a huge amount of books to bring in, sort and then take away what is left over at the end of the fair, Mr Ferguson said he calls on help from many sectors of the community.

Among those who volunteer help are a small group of minimum security inmates who are part of Bathurst Jail’s Community Projects section.

At each book fair, under supervision from the project’s senior overseer Scott Keen, inmates assist with set up and pack up.

“The fellas always like to come and do the book fair, they get to see the books, they get to work with the other volunteers and they generally just like to come down and spend the day sorting the books out,” he said.

Mr Ferguson said the inmates’ help was invaluable.

In this tough time, this dry time, we have increased demand.

Lifeline Central West's Alex Ferguson

“Without their co-operation we would be in all sorts of strife,” he said.

The fair is on at Bathurst Showground with a range of genres available including: children’s books, cooking, fiction, non-fiction, biography, history and war, along with a host of DVDs.

“We’ve got books on about everything for everybody … this year is clearly the best, both by quality, by selection and by volume,” Mr Ferguson said.

The fair is on from 9am-4pm on Saturday and 10am-2pm on Sunday. Entry is by gold coin donation.

  • Call Lifeline on 13 11 14.