Port Stephens Community Woodworkers celebrate opening of weatherproof workshop

The Port Stephens Community Woodworkers with members of the Belcher family celebrating the opening of the new workspace.

THE Port Stephens Community Woodworkers have officially opened their new weatherproof workspace.

Over 60 people were present to celebrate the opening of the workspace with a morning tea.

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The project converted a rough concrete slab covered by a roof into an enclosed weatherproof area.

The conversion was made possible by a State Government grant and a bequest from the estate of one of its founding members, Ray Belcher.

The Port Stephens Community Woodworkers Club was established in 1995, with Ray Belcher one of its earliest members.

Ray was a member of the club for over 21 years.

During this time held the offices of committee member, Secretary and President, finally being awarded a Life Membership.

Ray was a driving force behind the original building of the Club’s own workshop, in its current premises located behind the Community Arts Centre, which was opened in 2007.

Ray was untiring in his efforts to raise funds and elicit grants for the project, much of which came from the then Regional Partnerships Program and the Community Arts Centre.

Roger Delaney, President of the Port Stephens Community Woodworkers told News Of The Area, “Ray was the instigator in the setting up of the Club’s Schools’ Program.

“This involved Club members making items such as tool boxes, bird feeders, nesting boxes, BBQ caddies etc in kit form, for primary students to assemble with nails and glue, as part of their school extracurricular activities.

“It’s pleasing to know that it is still very popular today.

“Members still visit schools such as Bobs Farm, Soldiers Point, Tomaree High School and St Philip’s and it has now been expanded to preschools, disability care and aged care centres,” he said.

When Ray passed away he left the Club $10,000 to establish a legacy that would reflect his involvement and his passion for woodworking.

Club members designed the enclosure and, with the help of the Arts Centre, put in a development application to Council.

Due to cost constraints the Club members built the enclosed workspace themselves, at a projected cost of $16,500.

“The Club is located in what the council calls a flame zone because of the native garden on its doorstep, so whatever was erected had to comply with strict fire safety regulations, an expensive exercise.”

In addition to the structures, a new table was made by members, with a benchtop donated by Bunnings.

Chairs were donated by the Salamander Shopping Centre.

“The project came in on budget and the result speaks for itself.

“A very comfortable all weather area for the Club and a great memory for Ray.

“A very big thank you to all those involved,” said Mr Delany.


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