From antique to chic

Vcal students with Cardinia Men''s Shed Pakenham members Louwe Ligt, Roger Barnett. Alby Mann, John Buckley, and staff from Living and Learning Pakenham and Merinda Park. 188001_03 Pictures: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Kyra Gillespie

Tuesday November 27 was an exciting day for VCAL students at Living and Learning Pakenham, who showcased their creative work on The Couch Project.

An innovative new program for young people aged 16 to 24, The Couch Project aims to re-engage students who may have drifted from mainstream schooling and who are looking to gain skills in a hands-on and practical learning environment.

Designing, sanding, preparing, painting, costing, budgeting and marketing skills were learned over the 10 week program, delivered by a trainer and mentored by local men from The Cardinia Men’s Shed.

Merinda Park Community Learning Centre deliver VCAL classes in partnership with Living and Learning Pakenham and were the first students to pilot the program, with their final pieces being showcased for the community, their parents, friends and supporters to admire and purchase.

“I’m very impressed with the quality of the students work – I have my eye on a piece I want to buy!” Miriam Cadwallader, CEO of Living and Learning Pakenham said.

“Here at Living Learning Pakenham, we strive to provide a holistic approach for our students learning journeys and facilitate a number of strategies for opportunities for different social and cultural groups to interact and learn from each other, such as with The Couch Project where we have youth and seniors working together to a common outcome.”

The sustainable program involved upcycling pre-loved furniture and repurposing it for sale.

“The students loved The Couch Project”, Merinda Park VCAL Trainer Mandy Edens said.

“Not only did they learn furniture renovation and business skills, but taking direction, trusting others with their project, and collective teamwork were a strong focus of the project – it’s been lovely to see the students shine”

“You could really see the students growing in confidence and coming out of themselves, it was very rewarding to work with them,” John from the Cardinia Men’s Shed added.

Students were each personally presented with a Certificate of Achievement and surprised with their very own 75 piece tool kit as a congratulatory gift from Bunnings Pakenham.

For enquiries about The Couch Project or Merinda Park’s VCAL class delivered at Living and Learning Pakenham, contact LLP reception on 5941 2389.

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