Need help? Just call Neighbours Caring for Neighbours’ Paul Shaw

By Spencer Fowler Steen

Shepparton local Paul Shaw mows lawns for nothing, for any reason. He doesn't judge why people can't pay, he just wants to help the community.

Neighbours Caring for Neighbours North Shepparton is Paul's organisation.

It started serendipitously three years ago when his neighbour, who had grass growing up to the top of her fence, needed someone to mow it for nothing.

Paul thought, "well I can do it for nothing.”

Nowadays, Paul said he drives around on his ride-on mower - he doesn't have a car - sometimes towing a trailer with his tools to whoever needs his services.

“It's about helping people,” he said.

“If someone was broken down on the side of the road, you'd want to help.”

Paul is a single father, who is living off a pension, with two children.

Helping those in need: Paul stands next to one of the many fridges he has relieved people of to take to the tip.

All the funds he receives from people, who occasionally insist on paying, go straight back into the community, and his meticulous record-keeping confirms this.

Over the last three years, he has received $22 000 in donations, all of which has gone back to the community, plus a bit extra, he said.

Paul is now running at a loss of over $700, but that doesn't deter him from doing all he can to help those in need.

He said he used the funds to buy things such as food, books, clothes, shoes and fridges for people who were struggling.

“Whatever brings a smile to their face, whatever they need,” he said.

With the Greater Shepparton City Council running no fee waste days this month, Paul has adapted his business model to helping people take rubbish and scrap metal to the tip.

Last week, he took 62 mattresses from people.

Lending a hand: Shepparton local Paul Shaw shows off the trailer he uses to help people.

This week, with the help of volunteer Wayne Jolly, who has a car, they are picking up people's scrap metal, including fridges and washing machines to take to the tip.

Paul also started another organisation last March called All About You, which aims to get socially isolated people out of their house every Monday at North Shepparton Community Centre.

When it started, there were six people, but now, there is over 30.

Every 10 weeks, Paul also donates five $30 vouchers for community lunches, he said.

Finding Paul and his organisation online is nearly impossible.

With no Facebook page or any other social media to speak of, he operates by word-of-mouth.

“If you've got long grass, let us know,” he said.

To get in touch with Paul, call him on 0497 748 371.