Barry Nitschke: Westfield Local Heroes 2019
Big-hearted neighbour devotes his days to children’s centre
Le Fevre Community Children's Centre
Generous. Selfless. Hardworking
Barry Nitschke lives next door to the Le Fevre Community Children's Centre and has been helping in one way or another for decades.
The retired port worker is a 24-hour volunteer caretaker, toy repairman, groundsman and sausage sizzle turner.
Barry, who is in his eighties, helps at working bees and assists with walking the children to the local preschool a few days a week.
He also built a chook house to use up the centre’s food scraps and gives the eggs to the staff.
Not only that, he shares his yard with the centre, allowing the children to play under his large Norfolk pine.
“By doing all these jobs I save the centre a few bob,” he says.
“It keeps me alive as it gives me something to do. I enjoy hearing the sound of children laughing coming over the fence.”
Barry has previously been named Neighbour of the Year and Volunteer of the Year, but says being voted a Westfield Local Hero is a beauty! “It makes me feel good. I’m real proud of it.”
His neighbourliness doesn’t stop at the centre. He cares for everyone in the neighbourhood. He ensures bins get put out and checks on people’s wellbeing.
Barry regularly collects dumped old bikes and fixes them for children in the community, he mows the lawn for several people and is always happy to help with repair jobs such as fixing a fence.
In the past, he would help an elderly neighbour tie his shoelaces every day until he passed away.
“I’ve been living here for 54 years. I know everybody in Taperoo,” Barry says.
Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation.
The centre will use its grant to replace its damaged storage shed and lay more grass for the children to play on.
“The shed will have a roller door and electricity for my blower. And it’s going to be called Barry’s Shed. That really means something,” says the proud volunteer.
For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here.