Cannington: Santa’s Workshop faces uncertain future over lack of funding

Volunteers at Santa's Workshop are devastated at funding cuts threatening their future.
Volunteers at Santa's Workshop are devastated at funding cuts threatening their future.

FOR the past 20 Christmases, Santa’s Workshop has worked tirelessly to make toys for disadvantaged children during the holiday season.

Now, that could all be about to change.

The not-for-profit group had its funding cut by welfare organisation Outcare, which had its own funding cut earlier this year.

Volunteer Martin Dorman said they were told Sevenoaks Senior College, where their workshop was based, could no longer host them.

“Sevenoaks had a memorandum of understanding with Outcare, which meant because Outcare no longer supports us, they no longer want us on their premises,” he said.

“We’re not saying they are villains, we’re just saying they have told us for their own purposes, they need us to vacate.”

The group is frantically appealing for donations to help them find a new home, searching for alternative funding options and have asked for anyone who may be able to help it to come forward.

Mr Dorman said the group made more than 2500 toys a year and not one of the group’s members wanted to see the workshop collapse.

“We’re left with no place to go and no funding and we don’t want it to finish because it’s been going for 20 years and it’s a very good organisation,” he said.

“We’ve done so much good work and now all of a sudden, it has to finish, which would be a shame.

“Is there anybody out there who’s got a shed they would like to let us have for a very small amount of money, or knows where to get funding or could fund us?”

The Canning Times contacted Sevenoaks Senior College, who declined to comment.

Fellow volunteer Pablo Manalac said the group’s members were upset the organisation they had worked so hard to build could be about to end.

“For the volunteers at Santa’s Workshop, it gives meaning to our lives as well,” he said.

“As volunteers, we know we’re being useful and doing something beneficial for the disadvantaged in the community.”

Outcare chief executive Paul McMullan said Outcare had faced “significant funding challenges” over the last year and hoped someone else would be able to step in and save the workshop.

“We are hopeful an organisation in a stronger financial position will see the value of Santa’s Workshop and support this much-loved community initiative,” he said.

“Outcare has provided time, funding and equipment to establish and maintain the workshop and we are hopeful another benefactor within the Western Australian community can step-in and provide a workable solution for the program to continue.

“Outcare will provide the remaining sponsorship for this year and gift the assets in the workshops and all the equipment in the hope that it can secure a new financial partner.”