Since the early 1990s members of WSQ have made toys. However, in 2002, the late Don MacMillan, with the help of Colin Fraser, set up the Toy Group workshop. Over the years the volume of toys grew, and they now make over 800 toys a year. All of these find their way to charities such as St Vincent’s de Paul, Fishers of Men, the Mater Children’s Hospital, Mission Australia and others through GIVIT. From time to time the team also refurbish old toys and jigsaw puzzles for local kindergartens.
Today, when you visit WSQ, on a Tuesday morning or the first Friday of every month, downstairs you will find five volunteers pursuing their passion of making toys for children. All are retirees who bring their diverse skills, experience and sense of humour to creating fun, safe, quality toys as gifts for children at Christmas time. As members of the group have commented:
We enjoy making the toys especially when we know they go to charity for kids who may otherwise not get a toy. It’s something different and it gives a bit back to the community. It’s also a challenge. It keeps your old mind active, ticking over!
Last year we were given a very generous $1000 grant from the Brisbane Airport Corporation to help us out with supplies… that was greatly appreciated as every dollar goes a long way with us. It helps with little but important things needed like non-toxic paints, safe finishing products and the odd tool or drill bit …
Advancing and sharing our skills in toy making is not only fun but also a challenge. It’s more than a job – for me it’s 6 days out of 7 and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Toni Dowd Toy Group Member