Big River Group Partners with Toys Change Lives

Posted on July 9, 2021

painted turtles


Australia’s leading timber expert, Big River Group, is supporting non-for-profit organisation, Toys Change Lives (TCL), via its industry partnership with the Clarence Correctional Centre’s Indigenous inmates program run by Serco.


The partnership forms part of its wider engagement with NSW Correctional Service Industries (CSI), which Big River Group has been supporting for 15 years on a range of timber production initiatives.

TCL is a workshop and community re-entry program for Indigenous youth post-release from juvenile detention. Big River Group supplies plywood to the program through the Clarence Correctional Centre, which is then made into toy components and assembled and painted by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inmates. The program is dedicated to breaking the cycle of Indigenous youth recidivism by creating employment opportunities within their workshop. TCL is staffed by Indigenous youth and mentors, and inmates are given the opportunity to gain training and skills in carpentry and traditional art by creating wooden toys to sell.



“We are proud to be supporting such a worthwhile cause,” says Jim Bindon, Managing Director, Big River Group. “As a founding industry partner with the Serco run Clarence Correctional Centre, we understand how important it is to provide purpose and learning opportunities for the inmates. The TCL program currently produces between 40 and 55 toys a month, which are purchased by Serco with all proceeds going to education and employment opportunities for Indigenous youth.”


Painting wooden toys


“Inmates learn about routine and the discipline that comes with attending work every day,” says Andrew Wilson, Industries Development Manager, at Clarence Correctional Centre. “They gain employability and communication skills that much of work success relies upon. Beyond these core skills, inmates are encouraged into traineeships, licence-based training and certificate courses.”

Operated and maintained by Serco, on behalf of the NSW Government, Clarence Correctional Centre is designed to support a rehabilitative approach to justice by providing education, training and employment pathways for inmates through industry, business, and education partners.


Painted turtle and kangaroo


If you would like to be involved with Toys Change Lives, visit