Chal­lenge Foun­da­tion opens sec­ond ven­ture

The Free Press (Corowa) - - FRONT PAGE - BY SARAH DEAN

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 reuse­able 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 En- ter­prise 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 mail@ chal­lenge­foun­da­

The shop is open from 9.30am to 4pm from Mon­day to Fri­day and from 9.30am to 12pm on Satur­days.

Chal­lenge Foun­da­tion Di­rec­tor Fred Robin­son (left) with the vol­un­teer work­ers and Chal­lenge Foun­da­tion Chair­man Os­car Gen­ter at the open­ing of the new op-shop.

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