Plumpton Village Brings Joy to Children
We are always bowled over by the generosity, kindness and skills of our Retirement Living residents. Many volunteer in our Residential Aged Care homes visiting residents, sharing a cup of tea and co-ordinating everything from library services to sausage sizzles. They are also great supporters of groups like Rotary and the Lions Club, and many others are involved in community based activities contributing to all manner of great causes.
One group of quiet achievers who just keep on giving is a small team from Plumpton. A team of four residents are the core members of what’s officially known as the Men’s Shed. The name now a bit of a misnomer with a crafty woman by the name of Pat O’Keefe recently joining their ranks! For the past five years, John Rowling, John Paton, Leo Weekes have busily tinkered away in their workshop managing to produce an amazing 800 individual hand-made toys that have made their way to some of the communities most needy children each Christmas.
The group started with a mission to provide children who would miss out on receiving a Christmas gift – with something hand made by the team. “We are supporting a number of local groups including Saint Vincent De Paul Chapter, Emerton (Mt Druitt) and BAABAYN Aboriginal Corporation Mt Druitt who run terrific programs to support local families and provide social leadership to support at-risk young people. These are all very deserving and needy groups who are very appreciative of our Village support,” says John Rowling.
Last year, packed tightly into their tiny onsite garage workshop they managed to roll off the production line a stockpile of handmade pull-a-long walking ducks, dolls cradles and toy trucks. When CEO Paul McMahon heard that the group could do with some more elbow room, he promptly approved funds to build a new workshop three times the size of the former one. Today the team proudly show off their splendid ‘you beaut’ workshop. According to John Rowling “it would turn Santa’s elves green with envy. Some of the old machinery was in urgent need of replacement and Southern Cross generously fitted the new workshop out new benches, cupboards, heaps of power point outlets, a dust extractor system and even running water. And it’s three times as big as our old garage!”
The three men are the woodworkers, and Pat brings a much needed woman’s touch when it comes to purchasing the dolls, clothes and bedding for wooden cradles, as well as sourcing the wheels for the trucks. The team are now hard at work to meet their target of 220 toys by December.
This fabulous work would not happen without the support of the Plumpton Village residents who generously contribute funds that allow the group to purchase materials. Bunnings have also been a regular supporter and with the magnificent support of Southern Cross Care the team are well on their way to making Christmas a happy time for so many children.