The door to the new Recycle It Opportunity Shop in Corowa’s main street had only been open a matter of minutes last Thursday before a large crowd was already inside searching the shelves and examining the clothing racks.
The shop is a second major community project for the Challenge Foundation of NSW, which follows on from the work the foundation delivers at its Corowa Social Enterprise Centre (at the old Karinya House) where services are provided to disabled people in Corowa and throughout NSW.
Over the past two years the directors of the foundation identified an increasing need for specific services for disabled persons and age care clients.
With this in mind the foundation purchased and refurbished the shop front and retail outlet at 181 Sanger Street to provide additional support.
Challenge Foundation Director Fred Robinson said the location was perfect for its opportunity shop which provides good quality re-useable items at a low cost.
“It’s an opportunity for those who are disadvantaged or in need of saving money to purchase the things they need at a low price,” he said.
Mr Robinson said volunteers ran the shop and provided other services such as referral, advocacy and training.
“The foundation does not have any paid staff and is totally reliant on volunteers to provide its services,” he said.
“Because we do rely on volunteers, we are asking the community to put their hand up and even an hour a day on any day makes a difference.”
Foundation Chairman Oscar Genter said a trial was conducted at its Corowa Social Enterprise Centre about 12 months ago where the demand for second hand items at a low cost just grew and grew.
“That’s when we decided to purchase a store which would be more of a boutique kind of operation with newer clothes and other items donated by the community,” he said.
“We hope to turn over two or three bales of clothes a month, which will save them going to landfill and also benefit the community.
“With waste becoming a massive problem in all communities, the shop provides an alternative.”
The foundation is also offering a pick-up service for pensioners and those who are unable to drop off items.
Any items of value can be recycled by placing them in the bins at the shop or at the large bin in Redlands Road (Social Enterprise Centre).
In addition to the shop, a small meeting place environment with internet access will be created in the near future.
Mr Robinson said the meeting place would be somewhere that people could have a coffee, access the internet and have a social interaction with others in the community.
“The idea is that clients can access these services that may not be available at their home,” he said.
The site in the future will be used as a training base for disabled clients in helping them to gain experience and develop retail and customer service skills.
Those who would like to volunteer or would like to use the pick-up service can call Barbara at the shop on (02) 6033 0892 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The shop is open from 9.30am to 4pm from Monday to Friday and from 9.30am to 12pm on Saturdays.