Based in Paraparaumu on the Kāpiti coast, a busy team is working to create poppies from recycled vinyl records in time for Anzac Day.
After a successful campaign in 2021 to raise funds for the Poppy Trust with the Paraparaumu RSA, The Shed Project’s Poppy Makers team took up the challenge to go national and give more.
The Shed Project is a grassroots organization that works with disabled and disadvantaged people.
Last year, the team’s $1,000 donation was used to support military women in the community. This year, the support network has expanded to veterans and their dependents with The Shed Project Kāpiti director of social services, Jo Picot, reporting that donations have already doubled from last year.
* Red Poppies made and placed by the community for the Peace Poppy Project
* The Poppy Peace Project is set to spend its final Anzac Day on Auckland’s North Shore
* Wall hanging adorned with poppies made by the community in time for Anzac
Picot said the initiative was born out of a desire to do something within the community.
“We were making poppies, and wanted to contribute to the local RSA. At first we were just happy that they hung our poppies on the wall in the memorial hall, but they liked it so much they asked if they could fund us to do more, and we said, sure!
A quarter of the money raised from record poppy sales will be donated to the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association nationwide.
The Poppy Makers team has already made more than 500 poppies and will continue to make them until Anzac Day, Picot said. The Paraparaumu Anzac Day Parade will also feature poppies made by the team.
In addition to the traditional red, the team also made purple poppies to commemorate animals that played a role in the war.
The Shed Project operates an open-door policy with Picot saying, “There’s always food and cups on the table for everyone.”
Volunteers expressed the sense of accomplishment they felt creating art for others, including Declan:
“Declan likes to make art that makes people smile and happy, just like Declan likes everyone to be smiling and happy.”
When asked what it was like to be part of the Poppy Maker team, Elles said she felt “happy, helpful and a sense of accomplishment”.
Non-verbal artist Tessa smiled brightly and agreed that she enjoys creating something for others.
The Poppy Makers will continue to create throughout the year, motivated to help other local charities. Picot has launched an invitation to all members of the community who would like to join.
“We don’t just make art here, but eternal bonds and family.”
With artistic services like painting, pottery and woodworking, there’s something for everyone at The Shed Project, she said.
“We love being able to bring the community together and discover a sense of purpose and achievement in everyone.”