Men’s Shed steps in to become Santa’s workshop for WSUEL, with a sustainable twist

Men’s Shed steps in to become Santa’s workshop for WSUEL, with a sustainable twist

by Freya Lucas

December 17, 2020

A new partnership between Western Sydney University Early Learning Hawkesbury (WSUEL) and the Hawkesbury Valley Men’s Shed has children attending WSUEL smiling, as the Men’s Shed team have worked hard to repair equipment and toys just in time for Christmas.

 

With budgets tight in 2020, and with an eye to being sustainable with purchasing, Catherine Dunk, acting Director of WSUEL approached the Men’s Shed, hoping to not only save some money, but also to build connections with the local community. 

 

“As the men skillfully fixed numerous toys and bits of our equipment, we were able to teach the children how important it is that we try to repurpose and rebuild our resources instead of throwing things out,” she told local publication Hawkesbury Gazette

 

The partnership has also helped the children to feel connected with the outside world during the restrictions and challenges of the pandemic, which has limited the number of excursions and in centre visits on offer. 

 

Hawkesbury Valley Men’s Shed Secretary Leon Walker said his team “were delighted” when the childcare centre approached them, saying the members of the Shed were keen to have something to keep them occupied and a purposeful task to engage in post lockdown. 

 

“The men’s shed was originally set up to support local men who might be experiencing low self-esteem and isolation; but it’s also a fantastic pooling of skills,” he told Hawkesbury Gazette, explaining how being involved in the Men’s Shed program can offer men a valuable social outlet, and something to give their retirement years a focus. 

 

WSUEL has a number of other community connections, with ongoing relationships with fruit and vegetable sellers, Hawkesbury’s Helping Hands, and Western Sydney University Campus staff.

 

“We believe community involvement is vital in providing children and families with a sense of belonging, and for building the foundations to be active community members,” Ms Dunk said.

 

The connection to community, she continued, can help children to feel more connected to their environment, develop a stronger sense of identity and can help children to view multiple perspectives on the world around them.

 

To read the original coverage of this story, please see here. 

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