b'HELPING HANDS BUILDING SERVICES HELPING HANDS CARE SERVICESIts hard to finish a carpentry apprenticeshipMavis Paterson has been a valued client of HelpingHOMEBASE|TONI BUCKSHIRAM if youre just doing grab rails and bathroomHands since 2014 when she was just 93.When Toni Buckshiram started at Tuncurry Waste modifications, says Helping Hands BuildingLast year, despite COVID restrictions, our Helping HandsManagement as a Depot Hand seven years ago, she Supervisor for the Mid North Coast, Jason Jewell.Care Worker Larry Fulton, who has been supporting hersays she was extremely scared.Thats why we entered into a partnership withfor the past five years, helped her to celebrate a majorFor someone who had worked in a caf, done a nursing Broadworth Homes in 2021. The lads really need thatmilestone. course, and taken a year off to raise her son, it was a wider range of experience.Mavis was going to have a big party for her 100th at thewhole different industrya bit smelly, a bit blokey and I was Jason worked with Broadworth for 13 years beforelocal Club, says Larry. Everyone knows Mavis. Shes justright out of my comfort zone. joining Community Resourcestwo-and-a half years ago,a lovely lady, always laughing and fun to be around.Despite the challenges of learning the weighbridge so building Broadworths modular homes for Over 55sBut of course, COVID meant the party was cancelled, sosystem, directing trucks and dealing with customers, Toni seemed like a natural progression. Larry and about 20 friends socially distanced in front ofsays the work environment was strong, we all got along, Of course, COVID-19 threw a spanner in the works, withher small villa in Forster. Waving balloons and cake theyI was learning new skills, and there were even a few other staffing shortages impacting the Helping Hands smallsang Happy Birthday through their face masks.Aboriginal people. She came to love it.team of seven.Mavis may not be typical of most Helping Hands clients.Fast forward across the ensuing years of career We had to rejig the whole operation, Jason explains,Having arrived at the impressive age of 101 in Aug 2022,development and Toni is now transitioning into the and scheduling still isnt back to normal. Even if you getshe is still physically fit, apart from a spot of scoliosis. newly created role of Community Services Operations all your ducks in a row, if one of us cant show up, youveI have to stop her climbing a ladder in the garage to dustManager.Its an impressive arc for someone who joined got clients waiting. Weve had to be much more flexiblethe shelves, Larry laughs. Up until she was 99, MavisHomebase as a receptionist in 2018. about locking things in.was still walking 1.5 kilometres to ger her hair done!It was a really big eye opener into what clients were going Nevertheless, the apprenticeships have been gameAlthough he does the heavy cleaning and odd jobs, through, she recalls of her first taste of Youth Services. I changers for Clay Dooker, a musician, and Jake Bolt,she keeps her house so immaculate; we have a contesthad to use my instincts, try to comfort when I could, and formerly a butcher and drug and alcohol counsellor.to see if I can find any dirt.when I couldnt, pass clients on to more experienced staff. After 8 years in abattoirs and 4 more in Youth Services,Mavis is also lucky to live with her daughter Doreen, whoToni had found her calling and spent three years as a Team Jake was looking for somewhere you dont take theis 81, and the two maintain a healthy social life, attendingLeader of the Transition to Work program for early school work home with you when he joined Helping Hands.the local Club regularly.leavers aged 15-24. His apprenticeship in carpentry has been almost like aA lot of my other clients struggle with loneliness, LarryThere was a lot of depression and anxiety to deal with, holiday compared to drug and alcohol counselling. Hereveals. They might have the occasional cry on yourlow numeracy and literacy skills, and it was hard to get loves being outside, enjoys the group banter of the team,shoulder. I like to help where I can.them to engage with work or study, she says. Id get new and says the job satisfaction at the end of the day isclients who wouldnt say two words at first. One was living 100%. Helping Hands provides a range of services to empowerin a caravan. Another in a tent at the showground. They 24 year old Clay, on the other hand, had always dreamedclients to stay independent in their own home for as longjust needed support because they didnt have any. Id take of doing carpentry.But he also wanted to travel, and makeas possible.Larry is qualified as an Assistant In Nursingthem to their appointments, help with their learning to money, and for 6 or 7 years he worked in construction.(AIN), but at nearly 72 himself, he focuses on domesticdrive. There were some real success stories that made me cleaning rather than personal care. feel all warm and fuzzy inside.I wish Id known better what I wanted, he says now,I dont just assist the elderly, he says. I have clients grateful that an aunt pointed him towards Transitionwho are intellectually challenged, autistic, or living withTonis aptitude and dedication made an impression, and to Work. Now every day is differentwe do decks,other mental health issues. I enjoy the variety. I triedshe went on to become co-Team Leader of Homebase bathrooms, cabinetry. Im just trying to take it all in.retiring, but it was boring!Youth Service in 2020.Both Clay and Jake are now working towards the TAFE 4Mavis was directed to Helping Hands from theIts been an awesome journey! says Toni today. I didnt year Certificate III in Carpentry. Clay would love to build hisDepartment of Veterans Affairs. She says she is veryeven finish year 9. I hated school. But when I reached 17, I own house and Jake has already renovated his! grateful for the support she receives from our staff.realised Id done all the partying and I couldnt keep going like that. I needed a job. And Ive come such a long way. every day Helping Hands provides a range of services to clientsGrateful to the people who have put their faith in her (in is different to empower them to stay in their own home, for longer. particular, Natalie Bolt, Auntie Margie and General Manager we do decks,Lisa Berry), Toni will be working across Helping Hands We live off ourBuilding Services, Helping Hands Care Services, Specialist bathrooms,reputation, andHomelessness Services, and Homebase Youth Service.cabinetry. the word aboutShe is a shining example of the commitment Community Im just trying Resources has made to increasing Aboriginal employment to take it all in.town is that weand leadership opportunities across the organisation, as are good.outlined in the new 3 -year strategic plan. CLAY DOOKER HH CARPENTRYLARRY FULTON Toni has over and over again proven her abilities and APPRENTICE HH CARE WORKER knowledge, and her dedication to working towards the aims of Community Services and the broader CR mission says her General Manager, Lisa Berry. I am excited to be able to support Toni in her career growth as she takes on this challenging but exciting role. PAGE 21'