Austin family blown away by kindness and support from community after renovation surprise

Just when Craig and Cindy Austin thought they couldn’t get more supportive family and friends, they arrived home to find their Gillieston Heights house and yard had been given a major overhaul.

Overwhelmed: Craig, Cindy and Cleo, 4, Austin in their new backyard. Picture: Nick Bielby

Overwhelmed: Craig, Cindy and Cleo, 4, Austin in their new backyard. Picture: Nick Bielby

About 30 family, friends and local businesses people donated materials and time, worth thousands of dollars, to give the Austins’ home a makeover on the weekend.

A serious neck injury Craig sustained in the Army seven years ago left him unable to work and largely housebound.

So his sister Lauren and her partner Bayden Skelley sent Craig, Cindy and their daughter Cleo away for two nights in Port Stephens on Friday and organised a huge home makeover as a surprise for when they returned.

Blinds, an air conditioner, down-lights, landscaping, and new turf for the yard were just part of the finished product. On Sunday, the Austins were overwhelmed by the community support.

“These people are the ones who help us get through the day,” Craig said. “We’re surprised, we’re amazed – at the end of the day, we want to give back as much as they have given us.”