Rosanna and Gurwinder on a Tuesday afternoon. Last ones in the office today. Not an unusual situation.

Gurwinder is helping to get Rosanna’s computer working again. Problems with Outlook. “If Gurwinder can’t fix it, no one can.”

Rosanna is Addi Road’s CEO. Gurwinder is our Office and Venues Manager.

Their big discussion points – in between getting the computer functioning and a few last essentials done – are a mutual resolve to “lay off eating cake” along wth Rosanna’s need to “stop swearing this year. I really want to ease up. I like it as a form of expression, but I know I do it too much.”

Gurwinder has a good laugh about that. She also gets Outlook working too. “That’s f-king great!”

The photocopier pulses away as the reports are prepared for an upcoming board meeting. An outline of activities is stapled together detailing the formative structure and latest work of the Addi Road Youth Collective.

An organisational diagnostic to help with Addi Road’s sustainability and growth going forward has finally been completed. It’s a big thing to have achieved and the help from Jane Oakeshott is much appreciated.

Annual performance reviews for staff are also compiled. A strategic plan taking Addi Road through till 2026 is done and dusted.

This will probably do for now. Piles of paper; years of work; history and vision. An organisation is, as the word suggests, an organism. And a cellular level examination is necessary to be sure of its historic record and ongoing good health.

These reports and structural maps are, nonetheless, only the outside skin to an inner and more complex human reality, the true personal nature of any community group, how it lives and breathes and operates day-to-day.

You can talk about programs, budgets, bullet points, KPIs, acquittals… But where do you factor in loyalty, sharing, laughter, the questing philosophy of a good conversation that is never quite finished, but somehow relevant and inspiring for another day to come? The trust that grows unconsciously yet deeply within such casual talk, empowering everyone and everything for the better?

With the day nearly done, Gurwinder and Rosanna are going to open up the doors to Addi Moves to work off a bit of stress and tiredness.

Addi Moves has been set up by the University of NSW (Department of Exercise Physiology) in partnership with Addi Road to study mental and physical wellbeing, free to anyone who needs the help. Just one more thing happening at the community centre among a plethora of programs and campaign activities.

Inside the gym there are punching bags, dumb bells, weights, a bench press, a treadmill, stationary bikes. It’s not like Addi Road staff are busting to break into a sweat after work, but the staff are welcome to use the equipment and take some time out to stay fit and de-stress when they can. Like the community that Addi Moves has been created to help, Addi Road Is likewise learning how to look after itself, how to build some health and ‘resilience’, that buzzword so current and yet so elusive to sustain.

Being a bit of a gym junkie, Gurwinder knows her way around the Addi Moves gym and how to use to the equipment. Rosanna stands up. Asks her, “Shall we go and build our muscles, Didi?”

Gurwinder says yes. And with a smile, observes that “Rosanna is the core queen. We [other staff] can’t do what she does.”

“I dunno about that,” Rosanna says.

Gurwinder insists she’s only good with weights – but weak on core body strength. There’s a mini review of various staff abilities on the weights. A few laughs about thrashing people into shape and enjoying some venting over outside hassles and hasslers at the punching bag.

The conversation turns soft. Reflections on Jane’s kindness and decency, an amazing person. The history of the place and people much loved. Achievements, funny times, people who found their place, a message from someone still connected long after they left. Maybe the close of day naturaliy brings a softness to reflections, a looseness to just talking as work winds down.

In the end, Rosanna and Gurwinder need to work on their exercise program together. Much as they have in various ways now for nearly a decade as a duo in the office; and as part of a larger team.

What does the word ‘didi’ mean that is used so often between them? Gurwinder explains that in Punjabi it’s the word for ‘sister’. Sister. A word each must accept to bind its meaning into something that matters, in spirit and in action.