It started with an itch.
The crew at disability care centre Endeavour Group Australia (EGA) first noticed it about three weeks ago.
Staff and clients alike getting covered in inflamed, red bites just minutes after arriving at the High Street office.
A pest inspection revealed the sinister cause – a bird lice infestation, caused by the flocks of birds nesting in the old rear section of the building.
“It was causing quite a few issues, it was a bit unbearable,” EGA regional co-ordinator and Maitland Blacks Netball president Rebecca Curtis told the Mercury.
“You only had to be in there for five minutes and you’d be getting bitten.”
Despite repeated attempts at fumigation, the bird lice refused to budge, quickly leading to insufferable working conditions.
“It was a bit of a worry, particularly for some of our non-verbal clients,” Ms Curtis said.
EGA needed a solution, and quick.
In stepped the Maitland Blacks Rugby Club, who opened their junior clubhouse at Marcellin Park to the disability care group, while Pitcher Partners offered out office space for EGA’s corporate staff.
Andrew Hughes, the chair of the EGA board, was full of praise for both organisations.
When something like this happens around Maitland, people are quick to put their hand out and help.Andrew Hughes, chairman of EGA board
“When something like this happens around Maitland, people are quick to put their hand out and help,” Mr Hughes said.
“They’ve (the Blacks and Pitcher Partners) been very good, we’re very grateful.”
It’s not the Blacks first involvement with EGA.
The rugby club raised funds earlier this year to help the organisation purchase a new bus.
The arrangement has been a winner with EGA’s clients too, according to Ms Curtis.
“Our clients love being able to have a run around out there (at Marcellin Park), there’s plenty of space,” she said.
Blacks vice-president Pat Howard said they were glad to be able to help out EGA, part of a raft of community commitments the club has with charities around the town.
“Whoever needs a hand, we try and give it to them,” Mr Howard said.
“We try to do anything where possible to help any charity around town and we’re glad we can help (EGA) out when they need it.”