Wodonga Flexible Learning Centre Tiny House Project builds skills and communities

THINK BIG: Wodonga Flexible Learning Centre's Tiny House Project participants Jack Vennix, 17, teacher Ian Franzke, Lubosh Hanuska (Tiny Houses), Trey Mather, 17, and campus principal Huw Derwentsmith. Picture: SIMON BAYLISS
THINK BIG: Wodonga Flexible Learning Centre's Tiny House Project participants Jack Vennix, 17, teacher Ian Franzke, Lubosh Hanuska (Tiny Houses), Trey Mather, 17, and campus principal Huw Derwentsmith. Picture: SIMON BAYLISS

A TINY project in Wodonga is showing how it’s possible to think big.

Wodonga Flexible Learning Centre’s Tiny House Project is building its first house to raise money for charity.

The campus of Wodonga Senior Secondary College trains young people disengaged from mainstream education to build practical skills through a range of projects.

Wodonga Flexible Learning Centre campus principal Huw Derwentsmith said the Tiny House Project began at the start of the school term.

Mr Derwentsmith said that like the centre’s other social enterprise projects – Acts of Kindness (AOK) – all the profits would go to charity.

“The kids decide what the social causes will be,” he said.

Wodonga Flexible Learning Centre teacher Ian Franzke is overseeing the Tiny House Project, which involved six students working on it three days a week.

The 2.6 metres wide by 4 metres long by 2.8 metres high structure comprised a toilet, shower, kitchen and foldout bed.

Student Jack Vennix said though he’d already done a Certificate III in Carpentry, the Tiny House Project offered him different skills.

“We’re dealing with a lot of metal, which is different to dealing in wood,” he said.

Mr Franzke said the project had been well supported by Border businesses and tradespeople.

Donors include GJ Gardner, Rafferty Brothers Electrical, Keatings Plaster, Choices Flooring, Gary Gibson, The Shed Company and Middy’s.

“We can also use donations of building materials, items for fitout and hardware that can be used to finish the interior,” he said. 

“Any materials not used this year will be stored for another project in 2018.”

Mr Franzke said solar panels and battery storage would be fitted to the first home.

“If it works out, we’ll always be building a house as a sustainable project,” he said.

Tiny Houses Albury Wodonga spokesman Lubosh Hanuska, a mentor on the project, said the easily transportable homes could provide a solution to homelessness on the Border in future.

“We’ve got special trailers to move the homes but the donation of a lifting jack would be great,” he said.

Wodonga Flexible Learning Centre spokeswoman Jess Kellahan said AOK projects generated $6500 for Foodshare, support dogs and victims of domestic violence in the second half of 2016.

“The students operated a cafe this year and they decide as a collective where those profits will go,” she said.

A Tiny House will be displayed at the Sustainability Expo in Wodonga in November and another auctioned at the Albury Show.

To donate materials to the project contact the Flexible Learning Centre on (02) 6043 7500.