If you haven’t visited RAAFA’s Erskine Grove estate for a while you may notice something different about one of their major landmarks.
That’s because the dolphin fountain, located near the admin building and club rooms, has had a major overhaul thanks to a successful collaboration between staff and residents.
Estate Manager, Debbie Beever, explains that the statue had started to look a little worse for wear in recent times, prompting the previous manager, Helen Macbeth to submit a capital request for funds for its refurbishment, which was approved for the 18/19 financial year.
“We knew we wanted to refurbish the fountain, but the challenge was actually finding someone who could help us to do it,” explains Debbie, who says the fountain has been much loved since the early days of the estate.
“The internal fibreglass base needed to be resurfaced, the external sandstone was stained, becoming brittle and beginning to perish, and the dolphins themselves were also terribly stained.”
And so, with a bit of support from RAAFA staff who helped get the dolphins out of the fountain, a group of residents got together and offered their assistance to refurbish them.
“The first attempt was to polish the dolphins back to the original metal, but unfortunately this proved a difficult and time-consuming undertaking, so the residents decided to spray paint the dolphins, which has brought them up beautifully and they look brand new,” says Debbie.
The sandstone base of the fountain, on the other hand, proved a difficult project to convince anyone to attempt. After much research and a lucky break, a chap by the name of James from Artisan Finishes was discovered, who was willing to help.
According to Debbie, the result is wonderful, providing a long lasting result that should see the fountain through for many years.
“It’s been such a fantastic staff and resident collaboration, with everyone involved listening to each other and respecting each other’s opinions as they worked to give the fountain a new lease of life,” adds Debbie.
“And the end result is that our newly refurbished landmark is looking wonderful - after three months of hard work we have new lilies in the pond as well as a new pump and timer.
”Resident Bob Day has also offered to look after the pond and keep the water up in the summer months, which is much appreciated and takes the weight off the garden staff.
“It’s fantastic to see that all the staff and residents are so pleased with the result.”
According to Bob, who along with friend and neighbour Jim Morrissey was an integral part of the project, there have been many positive comments from residents.
“Jim and I were really happy to help, alongside our friends and neighbours David Mills and Robin Guy; we have all been used to working with our hands over the years, so it was a great project to be involved in.
“We’re all really pleased with how it looks, and Debbie put on a sausage sizzle when we unveiled the end result, which we all enjoyed.
“A couple of residents have mentioned they’ll be putting up a beach umbrella to sit next to it and admire it in all its glory, which gave us a good chuckle.”