AYLA at heart of a caring community
THE transformation of Cockburn’s AYLA Op Shop includes a funky hair salon built within three sea containers, plus a cafe with recycled food, and plans for outdoor movies.
Several sea containers have been cut open to accommodate the salon, which will funnel profits back into the op shop.
The facility offers low-cost food in addition to its op shop wares and free hampers to those in need.
The service uses about three tonnes of food a week that would otherwise go to waste and is largely self-sufficient in terms of its funding.
AYLA has an application before the council to host a night market and outdoor cinema in its car park.
Plans for a 150-car drive-in at another location are also in the pipeline.
The op shop’s current location on McKinnon Street is the third move for the centre, which started in the home of Scott Johnson and partner David Metliss.
Named after their daughter Ayla, the op shop grew out of their desire to foster a sense of community similar to that seen in Ghana, where they spent six months building a school literally mud brick by mud brick.
“We live in a rich country, but there’s no sense of community,” Mr Johnson said.
The new warehouse has been open since March and was fitted out with recycled materials.
Clothing unable to be sold is sewn on-site into reusable shopping bags and the London Underground-styled salon will be offering training days and free cuts, in addition to its forprofit cuts.
AYLA recently received a $3500 grant from the council to start a plastic-free campaign in the community and is reliant on a volunteer base of 200 people.
“The cafe will include 50 per cent recycled food and offer traineeships for kids to be baristas and get hospitality certificates,” Mr Johnson said.
Fremantle MHR Josh Wilson visited AYLA on Friday, August 18, and urged people to check it out.
“This colourful, vibrant shed is a fantastic example of how community support can be delivered with creativity, common sense, compassion, and style,” Mr Wilson said.
Food Bank manager Step Jones with AYLA founder Scott Johnson.
Glen Bracegirdle with his guide dog Bronny.