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From retirement villages to playhouses

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Apprentices’ new skills delight Devonport kids

Ryman Healthcare is usually known for its longstanding history of building and operating retirement villages.

But yesterday two Devonport schools were thrilled to receive delivery of two beautiful playhouses, crafted by Ryman apprentices.

Schoolchildren from Vauxhall School and Stanley Bay School watched on with excitement as the truck arrived to unload the new playground additions.

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And the reason? Building the playhouses was designed to help the apprentices complete their task list, with the added bonus of providing something for the local community at the same time.

Project Manager at Ryman’s William Sanders retirement village in Devonport, Matthew Hutchinson, said the idea came about when construction bosses realised the apprentices wouldn’t be able to complete their task list without the required weatherboard experience.

“Our villages are built using concrete, steel and brick, not weatherboard.

So we decided to put it out to the community to ask for building ideas that we could help with.

We received dozens of suggestions including these two schools who said they would love a playhouse to put in the playground and we thought that idea would work perfectly.”

Building something on site and then delivering the finished product turned out to be the best scenario once health and safety considerations had been factored in, and then it was over to the apprentices to get on with the job.

Apprentice Rory Tai recently joined the team at William Sanders after working for three years at Ryman’s Bert Sutcliffe village and was one of those involved in the project.

“It’s really awesome that local kids will get to enjoy these playhouses afterwards, I’m really happy about that.

“And I’m really happy that I’ve now got that knowledge in exterior cladding, with weatherboard, which will get me closer to completing my apprenticeship,” he said.

Vauxhall School was the first to receive theirs, which principal Gary Lawrence said was greatly appreciated.

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“The playhouse is fantastic, the quality is amazing and the children are very excited!” he said.

“It will get well used during class time as part of our play-based learning approach to learning as well as at break times.

“We are very lucky to have this – thank you very much to Ryman Healthcare.”

Lucy Naylor, principal at Stanley Bay School, was equally thrilled when she saw their new playhouse being lifted into place.

“The playhouse is absolutely amazing, it’s beautiful! I was expecting a slightly more budget version but this is the deluxe model!

“The kids are going to go absolutely nuts over it tomorrow – a very heartfelt thank you!

“The Ryman team did a fabulous job and their effort is very much appreciated.”

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Lucy said the timing was perfect as there had been a gap in the playground after the swing set that had been in that spot had reached the end of its life.

“We were facing years of fundraising to replace it so we were thrilled when this opportunity came up.

“As well as being used as playground equipment we’re also planning to incorporate the playhouse into our classroom learning.

“In the new year the children will be involved in creating a garden around the house which will be part of a larger sustainability project. So I think the kids will get a huge amount out of it,” she said.

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