Apprentice carpenters spreading Christmas cheer to children in need
Christmas comes early for children at Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) at Tallaght
John Sisk & Son (“Sisk”), Ireland’s leading construction business which is celebrating its 160th anniversary this year, is delivering some 500 handcrafted wooden toys to children’s hospitals and charities in Ireland and across the United Kingdom in the lead up to Christmas.
The beautiful wooden toys, which were handmade over the past month by apprentice carpenters and joiners at the company’s workshop on the Naas Road in Dublin, were delivered to children today at CHI at Tallaght in Tallaght University Hospital.
The John Sisk & Son Christmas Toy Project was started by John G Sisk at the Sisk Joinery Workshop almost 45 years ago. Today, Sisk has a state-of-the-art training facility for apprentice carpenters and joiners located at its head office in Dublin and is celebrating 160 years in business.
Commenting on the initiative, Steve Bowcott, Chief Executive Officer, John Sisk & Son, said: “Over the past year we have been celebrating our 160th anniversary and reflecting on the many successes and achievements we have enjoyed as a business. One of our greatest success stories during that time has been our ability to give back to the many communities in which we work through our longstanding Sisk Christmas Toy Story. The toys are handmade by our apprentice carpenters and joiners, utilising the skills taught to them at our training centre in Dublin. The toys are donated to deserving causes all around Ireland and the UK. This is our way of giving something back to the communities that have supported us throughout the year, and something we as a business look forward to every Christmas.”
Speaking about today’s toy delivery, Dr Ciara Martin, Consultant in Paediatric Emergency Medicine, CHI at Tallaght, said: “On behalf of Children’s Health Ireland, I would like to express my gratitude to Sisk and all the apprentice carpenters and joiners for the joy they have provided our young patients and their families this Christmas. It is great to see a business like Sisk enabling their workforce to put their talents to great use and so generously providing these wonderful new toys to the children year after year.”
Dave Tracey, Sisk Training Centre Manager, said: “We at Sisk are really proud of this project. It gives our talented apprentices the opportunity to use the skills that they have been learning to bring joy to children across the country. The apprentices of today will be the people building the Ireland of tomorrow so it’s great that they can be the driving force in such an important project at such an early stage in their careers. I would hope that anyone considering an apprenticeship would see the work being done at Sisk every Christmas with the toy project and want to get involved themselves. We are always open to enquiries and I really hope that the promotion of apprenticeships will remain high on the agenda of Government and educational bodies.”
Work on the Sisk toys commences in mid-November and takes four to five weeks to complete, with all staff and management in the training centre getting involved.
Each November, the team assemble to decide on the toys they are going to make, sourcing ideas from toy books, websites and feedback from the charities who have received toys in the past.
A materials list is drawn up and sent to different suppliers and includes sheet material, MDF, plywood, solid woods like southern yellow pine and tulip wood, wood finishing lacquers, steels, rods, chalk and dusters, graphics, screws and fixings. Suppliers over the years have been very generous and provide special rates for all materials given the charitable nature of the work.
When the work is complete, the apprentices involved, some dressed as Santa, load the toys into vans and deliver them to the various locations around the country.
Denise Maguire Editor of Irish Construction Industry Magazine