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Community News

Groups rally to bring vulnerable children Christmas

Written by Margot Taylor
on December 10, 2019

Children from some of Melbourne’s most vulnerable families will have beautifully hand-crafted toys waiting for them this Christmas after Ryman carved out a partnership with three community groups.

For the past six months Nellie Melba Retirement Village’s woodwork room has looked more like Santa’s workshop, with busy elves (aka about 10 residents) painting wooden racing cars and golf buggies crafted by the Waverley Woodworkers Toy Group.

The happy production partnership was established when Ryman provided $1000 in sponsorship to the Mount Waverley group at the 2018 Pinewood Community Bank Pitch Night.


The group also received $2250 sponsorship from Ryman this year.

Throw in the provision of materials donated by Bunnings, and a request for Christmas toys by bestchance Child Family Care, and you have community and Christmas spirit in action.

Bestchance is a not-for-profit organisation that provides support to vulnerable children and families.

About 35 race cars and golf buggies, and 30 wooden pencil cases, were given to bestchance during a special presentation at Nellie Melba recently.

IMG_0341Representatives from Nellie Melba Retirement Village, bestchance Child Family Care, Waverley Woodworkers and Bunnings.

Bestchance Child Family Care team manager Vanessa Blaxhall says the project is “fantastic”.

“It means parents will be able to give their children a great Christmas.

“A lot of the families that we get in to ask for help are single parents, a lot of people who have experienced family violence, a lot of refugees.”

The toys and gift cards will be given to families over the coming weeks.

Nellie Melba Retirement Village resident Dallas Ware says the project was a chance for men in the woodwork group to get together for a good cause.

“The children these toys are going to, they are our grandchildren, aren’t they.

“I don’t have any grandchildren, so it has special significance to me.”

Waverley Woodworkers Toy Group co-ordinator Brian Downie says the project would not have been possible without the support of Bunnings and Ryman.

“We are certainly very appreciative of all that Ryman gives us, it really is a significant amount.”

Next year the Nellie Melba woodworkers hope to make ride-on horses for children in need.

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