Rose's Gift

'The Shed' has come to the aid of a Hallett Cove family by handmaking a wooden chair for a young girl with bilateral cerebral palsy. Rose Stewart uses the ‘horse’ for exercises and to improve her mobility.

Designed by a conductive education therapist, the chair requires the user to straddle it (like a horse) and use the front handle to grip and change balance. The therapist let Rose, 3, use the chair but recommended she get one of her own to use at home.

Rose’s mother, Vicki, rang a couple of Council run Men’s Sheds to see if they could assist. Reaching as far afield (from her home) as Burnside, she was thrilled when Shed Coordinator Evan Reay said he and his volunteers could help.

“It was a long way to travel but it was well worth it,” Vicki says. “I borrowed the chair and asked The Shed if they could replicate it for Rose.”

Evan says it was a bit of a challenge but the men took it on. “We took measurements and photos and then I put Rob in charge of cutting the wood.” The ‘horse’ generated a lot of conversation as the guys tried to work out what it was. Within two weeks the finished work was given to Vicki.

“The response from Evan and the men was nothing but helpful,” says Vicki. “Evan kindly had his enthusiastic team not only replicate the wooden seat but also make it more aesthetically pleasing. They also improved the front handle, allowing Rose a better grip.”

The seat height is adjustable so it can accommodate Rose’s growth as she gets older.

“My family is beyond grateful for The Shed's generosity, time and ingenuity,” Vicki says. “This seat allows Rose to practice her balance, seating, transfer skills and more at home every day, in between her therapy appointments.”

Evan says projects like this make the men feel like they are really making a difference in the community. “It was probably about 10 hours work with the cutting, sanding and varnishing,” he says.

Vicki appreciated it so much that the men are working on making two more chairs for children with similar needs as little Rose.

George Dellar works on a 'horse' at The Shed.

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