Construction materials left over from the rebuild of Fonterra’s cheese plant at Stanhope have been used to make gifts for children in the town.
The materials would normally have been sent to landfill or mulched into woodchips — but instead, they have been collected by the local Men’s Shed since 2015 and given a new lease on life.
Men’s Shed member Des Crichton said in the past three years the team had crafted hundreds of different items using Fonterra’s materials, but as they neared the festive season they decided to focus on crafting gifts and decorations for people in the local community.
‘‘We’ve been able to make wonderful wooden cubby houses as well as decorations such as wooden Christmas trees. These were donated to the local kinder and primary school as well as nearby aged care homes,’’ Mr Crichton said.
Fonterra Stanhope site manager Jason Wright said during the course of the two builds, cheese-making equipment had been delivered in large wooden crates that were never used again — so there was potential for a lot of waste.
‘‘We’re always looking for ways to give back to our local community and we thought there must be something we can do with all the leftover pallets, timber and crates.
‘‘The Men’s Shed was all too happy to pitch in — and Des has been a regular face around the site ever since, loading up his trailer at least three times a week,’’ Mr Wright said.
Items including butchers’ blocks, tables and chairs, and garden ornaments have also been crafted using the materials.
‘‘This has given our men meaningful work in the community and they’ve been able to craft items they’re really proud of,’’ Mr Crichton said.
■The public is invited to show support for the work that the Men’s Shed is doing in the community, and can purchase these items from the Men’s Shed at 3 Tivey Grove, Stanhope.