Community lends a hand

Matthew Carlton-Smith, Kirk Dixon and Ronald Stafford (above) each rack up 20 years service with Endeavour this year.
Matthew Carlton-Smith, Kirk Dixon and Ronald Stafford (above) each rack up 20 years service with Endeavour this year. Renee Pilcher

IT seems the community has come full circle in lending a hand to the very service that exists to support the community.

Michael McMahon has seen many changes since he joined Endeavour Foundation Industries (EFI) Gympie in 1985.

The enthusiastic, talkative man first walked through the gates of Spring Valley farm, which was run by Endeavour Foundation, at the age of 18.

Along with the site’s other supported employees, Mr McMahon, 43, later moved to a Goomborian Farm and last year to Endeavour’s new lolly factory on Duke Street.

“I like the lolly factory because of the variety of work,” Mr McMahon, who lives at an Endeavour residential service in Gympie, said.

“It’s different from the farm work.”

Tuesday marked his 25th anniversary of working with Endeavour – a job he has enjoyed turning up to each day. .

“I like working for Endeavour – I like learning new things, our training and working with other people. We help each other and have some fun.

“And it’s nice to be paid.”

In celebration of his achievement, Mr McMahon received a certificate for his valued contribution at a morning tea earlier this year.

Not just a keen worker, Mr McMahon is also known at EFI Gympie for his sporting ability, having brought back three medals from this year’s Special Olympics National Games in Adelaide, for ten-pin bowling.

He is one of four supported employees at EFI Gympie who this year marked a significant employment milestone. Mathew Carlton-Smith, Christopher Nolan and Kirk Dixon celebrated 20 years with Endeavour.

Their celebratory barbecue and certificate ceremony came just months after Ronald Stafford was recognised for his 30 years of service last November.

Mr Stafford is the Gympie site’s longest-serving supported employee.


There are 26 EFI sites across Queensland and New South Wales

EFIs employ more than 1800 people with a disability

EFI Gympie provides employment opportunities to 21 people with a disability

Supported employees at EFI Gympie perform a variety of tasks including filling, labelling and weighing lolly bags

EFI Gympie is calling for volunteers to help at the lolly factory showroom, including selling products, customer service, register work, stock handling and pricing.

Phone Sarah Dreaver on 3908 7291 or email

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