Apprentice carpenters spreading Christmas cheer to children in need
Christmas comes early at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin (OLCHC)
John Sisk & Son (“Sisk”), Ireland’s leading construction business, 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 Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin.
Commenting on the initiative, Steve Bowcott, Chief Executive Officer, John Sisk & Son, said: “The Sisk Christmas Toy Story is a longstanding tradition that has gone from strength to strength over the past 40 years. The toys are hand made 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, Ms Tracey Wall, Director of Nursing, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, said: “Our young patients and families faces lit up when they saw the wonderful crafted toys – it was great to see them so overjoyed, particularly as they are in hospital at Christmas time. It really helps make their time with us happier. On behalf of all the children families and staff at OLCHC I’d like to thank Sisk and the team so much for their generosity in providing these wonderful new toys for the children year after year.”
The John Sisk & Son Christmas Toy Project was started by John G Sisk at the Sisk Joinery Workshop over 40 years ago. Today, Sisk has a state of the art training facility for apprentice carpenters and joiners located at its head office in Dublin.
Dave Tracey, Sisk Training Centre Manager said: “Our talented apprentices who built these toys are the future of the construction industry and it’s clear to see the satisfaction they get from being involved in such a positive project. At the end of their training, these apprentices will have a skill set that will last a lifetime and enable them to work anywhere. It is incumbent on leaders and employers in all industries, as well as Government and educational bodies, to promote the excellent careers that can pursued in carpentry and joinery works.”
Work on the toys commences in mid-November and takes 4-5 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, will load the toys into vans and deliver them to the various locations around the country.