Ballina-based exercise physiologist Mark Roberts has worked extensively with Indigenous groups on the North Coast, promoting healthy living through exercise and diet and while many are enjoying relaxing during the school holidays, Mark and two mates plan to cycle along the sand from Newcastle to Tweed Heads to raise money and awareness for a transitional house to help Aboriginal women fleeing domestic violence.
Mark Roberts, Ian Roberts and Marshal Douglas expect their unsupported 800-kilometre ride to be tough, but not as tough as what the women and children who need the support and services of the Bunjum Transition House experience.
Bunjum provides a safe and secure environment for women and children in a two-bedroom house in Ballina. ‘It gives them time to breathe, have the children settle at school and look for permanent housing,’ says Mark. ‘Bunjum Aboriginal Corporation generously provides the house and Aunty Nancy Walker, a Bundjalung elder organises programs to assist with self-care, breaking the cycle of violence, overcoming grief and moving forward.’
Bunjum Transition House doesn’t receive any government funding and relies on community support through donations and small contributions for rent and electricity from tenants.
This is not the first time Roberts has cycled to raise fund. He has also cycled across the desert as part of the Simpson Desert Challenge that raised $25,000 for the royal flying doctor service and thrives on a physical challenge for a good cause.
‘We’ll be cycling around 65-100kms a day in some beautiful but trying conditions,’ he said. ‘We’ll be carrying our own food and water, tents and sleep in camping grounds and whatever shelter we can find each night.
Roberts says the aim is to raise $20,000 through crowdfunding. ‘We want to get everyone who supports us to start a conversation about how we can help break the cycle of violence,’ he said.
If you would like to support these three blokes on their ride, you can visit the Bunjum Yan ga gadjang guygam – Travel the Sand crowdfunder page: