Retired cabinet maker Wayne’s hand-built lolly trolleys bring joy to elderly

One of Wayne's lolly trolleys with HammondCare CEO Mike Baird and volunteer Olivia Atkins during the shoot for HammondCare's volunteers campaign

Wayne Gallagher, a retired cabinet maker from Fern Bay NSW, has brought sweet joy to hundreds of older people in need through his hand-built lolly trolleys. Over the course of several months, Wayne transformed his garage into a production line, crafting eight custom-made trolleys designed to distribute various treats to residents of HammondCare’s aged care homes.

The 67-year-old Wayne took pride in his work, stating, “I’m pretty proud of how the trolleys turned out, I have to say. I’m pleased to be able to use my skills in this way to help other people.” Initially, he constructed two trolleys for HammondCare’s Waratah and Cardiff aged care homes, which are home to many individuals living with dementia.

Impressed by Wayne’s workmanship, HammondCare ordered six more trolleys for their homes in Woy Woy, Wahroonga, Darlinghurst, Miranda, Horsley, and Hammondville. Wayne is among the 750 volunteers at HammondCare who dedicate their time to support the independent charity’s mission of improving the quality of life for those in need. Volunteers have played a central role in the organisation since its establishment in 1932.

One of Wayne’s lolly trolleys features prominently in a recently released video called “Share Joy – Volunteer with Us,” where HammondCare’s Chief Executive, Mike Baird, humorously describes the opportunities available to volunteers. The video aims to encourage more people like Wayne to consider the personal rewards of dedicating their time to bringing joy to older individuals – view below:

To fund the materials for the lolly trolleys, the HammondCare Foundation provided a grant, while Wayne generously offered his expert labour free of charge. He even sent photographs to HammondCare, confirming the progress of each stage of production, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to quality.

Wayne’s involvement with HammondCare began as a volunteer visitor, engaging with residents through activities like table games, walks in the gardens, and outings to Waratah Village for coffee. Unfortunately, due to health reasons, he was unable to continue these visits. However, he was thrilled to find a way to continue helping from the comfort of his own home.

According to Volunteer Coordinator Emma Egglestone, the lolly trolleys are versatile and can be repurposed to serve as a “happy hour” cart, a coffee cart, or even an ice cream cart with a delightful Mr Whippy recording at certain locations. Emma noted that the trolleys bring immense joy to the residents as they make their rounds. She said, “You can see it in their faces.”

HammondCare’s CEO, Mike Baird, emphasises in the video featuring Wayne’s cart that volunteering opportunities with the organization are diverse and cater to various interests. From music and art therapy to one-on-one companionship, HammondCare offers something to suit everyone’s passion for volunteering.

Currently, HammondCare is seeking individuals willing to commit 1-2 hours per week for at least 12 months. Volunteer numbers have declined since the onset of the pandemic, a trend experienced by many not-for-profit organizations reliant on volunteer support. The Volunteering in Australia 2022 report, published by Volunteering Australia last October, highlighted a “substantial decline” in volunteer participation due to COVID-19.

If you or someone you know would like to volunteer at HammondCare follow this link.


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