AYLA at heart of a car­ing com­mu­nity

Fremantle Gazette - - STREET WATCH - Pic­ture: Will Rus­sell

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.

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