Changing Lives Through Caringbah Craft Centre

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The skills Caringbah Craft Centre offers for people with disability are very unique.

As you step into Sylvanvale’s new craft centre you hear the sounds of laughter, drills and upbeat music blaring on the radio. The scent of fresh wood and paint fills the workshop as you’re greeted by enthusiastic volunteers working hard to create beautiful and unique toys for the community.

The Caringbah Craft Centre is 40 years old and was on the brink of shutting down until Sylvanvale took it over from Caringbah Uniting Church at the start of the year.

The centre now has a new lease on life as a Sylvanvale Community Hub, offering a Centre based program for people with intellectual disability. Here, they work alongside volunteers to create everything from rocking chairs to 3D puzzles and even sensory boxes and learning tools for children.

Grant Durbin has been a part of the centre for seven years now, originally as a volunteer and now using his NDIS plan to participate. He attends three days a week and loves working hard and keeping busy.

“We really enjoy coming and always look forward to it,” says Grant. 

The participants rotate through different stations where they can try all different types of woodwork, increasing their fine motor skills and strength.

Greg Wilson joined the centre in February after spending a large majority of his life in the same day program. Greg has been learning all sorts of skills from sanding to drilling, as well as cutting wood to create toys for the centre and has increased his skills and coordination exceptionally.

Greg’s improvement in this time has been phenomenal and he no longer needs instructions to follow out his tasks and can work independently with enthusiasm.
Site Manager Shaun Ferguson is very proud of the centre and the team’s achievements, “The skills the centre offers for people with disability are very unique – there is nothing like it anywhere in Sydney.”

“The guys work hard and use their skills to produce 75% of the products made here. Then we just go over them with finishing touches. It’s really awesome.”

The centre has changed the lives of the participants that attend and gives them an overwhelming sense of purpose and pride. The overall atmosphere is very positive with encouragement and joking all around. As for what is created there, it is nothing but quality – unique and beautiful gifts and keepsakes for the community.

Keen to be part of the Caringbah Craft Centre as a participant or volunteer? Learn more HERE.

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