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Out with the old and in with the sweet

Two ladies smiling while shopping for secondhand books

Residents at Bowen’s Cunningham Villas have found new ways to upcycle and connect with their local community, opening their very own op-shop for business.

The resident-led initiative came about due to a lack of volunteers post-Covid at the local Salvos store.

Residents were missing their once-a-month op-shopping experience and decided to take matters into their own hands and start their own.

Lifestyle Coordinator Kirsti Sweetman said from the beginning the idea was supported by the local community.

“I asked on Facebook for any donations, and it was up to the residents do sort out what came in – that’s when the fun began,” she said.

“I would go and collect the donations from around town and a group of residents set about going through everything, which took hours of sorting, folding, hanging – everything from clothing, books, ornaments, craft supplies, blankets and so much more.”

At first, the store opened monthly for residents and staff, and after a successful pilot, to the wider community. After the initial op-shop did well, the residents decided to add another element.

“We held an open day, and baked carrot cake, chocolate cake, honey joys, chocolate crackles, jam drops, choc chips biscuits and scones,” Kirsti explained.

“The residents made up a price list and we opened to the public. Our residents met some beautiful people, and the op-shop did a steady business, but the biggest hit was the bake sale – the community loved our residents’ cooking, which was great!”

Residents have enjoyed meeting the local community and keeping themselves busy.

“It’s so good to feel like I’m working again,” Karyn said.

With the money that was made, the workers went out for well earned fish and chips on the water, finished off with an ice cream. Items not sold were then donated to the three op shops in town.

In the New Year, the residents will once again take up their upcycling project and bake sale, hoping to meet even more locals in the process.

Seniors month

October 2023

It’s a month of celebrations for seniors starting with International Day of the Older Person on 1 October and ending with National Grandparents Day on 29 October. 

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