Quality wooden toys for charity, made locally: mud flat toys - The Community Leader and Real Estate New and Views

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In 1996, two builders, the late Graham Schmith and the late Fred Cash, started the Toy Factory, which became Mud Flat Toys. Their main aim was to produce quality wooden toys. The project had the backing of the Rotary Club of Wynnum and Manly.

After rather humble beginnings in a double garage at Lota House nursing home, we moved to a larger factory at 180 Youngs Road Hemmant, then to 126 Rickertt Road, Ransome in December 2014. Now we
are at 12 Thorne St Wynnum, where Career Employment Australia purchased our premises, and they pay for our overheads.

We make about 33 different toys, including three different cots, high chairs, tables and chairs, aeroplanes, train engines, fire engines and various trucks, and make up to 280 toys each year.

At Christmas time, we distribute all these toys to various charities.

We also distribute toys to women and kids’ shelters at Silky Oaks and Babi, Redlands Community Centre, Salvation Army and Gateway Community Group. We also donate our toys at Christmas to children’s hospitals, orphanages and any other facility that deals with underprivileged children. Around Easter time, we make kits for kids with cancer and Camp Quality. These kits allow the children to make 25 planes, 25 boats and 25 cars. We also sell some toys throughout the year, which enables us to purchase consumables such as sandpaper, screws and nails.

Timber comes to us in various ways – film sets, shorts from staircase companies, and western red cedar from door and louvre companies. All this comes free. Timber also comes from suburban footpath collections. We also make a lightweight folding timber table, which is ideal for camping and caravanning.

While we are registered as a ‘Men’s Shed’, we operate quite differently, not as much as a social gathering, our main aim is to produce toys. All our work is carried out by retired volunteers who come from all walks of life. We regularly had 10 men to make our painted wooden toys, but numbers are dropping, and we are now down to four men. Steve Marcussen from our village is our resident spray painter who also assembles the toys after they are painted and lacquered. Brian Horton, also from our village, does maintenance on our machinery and equipment, and he also assembles lots of toys after they have been spray-painted and lacquered. Our workday is Wednesday.

Mud Flat Toys is currently seeking volunteers to help continue to make toys for the community. If you’d like to find out more, contact 0428 404 541.

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