Crowds poured in the door for the BEST Community Shed shopfront grand opening on Otho Street on Saturday morning.
“The amount of people we had down there was just overwhelming. You couldn’t move in the shop,” BEST social programs co-ordinator Danny Middleton said. The eager volunteers struggled to keep up with demand, refilling each rack as they emptied.
“Our mannequins that were set up out the front – every time you turned around they were naked, because people were stripping the clothes off them!” Danny said.
The opportunity shop and welfare centre is an initiative of BEST Employment, and will be run by by volunteers, Work for the Dole participants, long-term unemployed and residents with compromised ability. Furniture items will be refurbished and built by the volunteers, an opportunity to showcase their skills and learn new ones.
All profits will be donated to local causes, including but not limited to welfare from the Community Shed storefront. Operation Operating Room, a local charity which purchases equipment for the Inverell District Hospital, was the first recipient of a Community Shed cheque of $2000.
“They’re very similar to us - it doesn’t matter what socio-economic (background) you’re from, everyone’s going to benefit,” Danny said. Local not for profit organisations are encouraged to apply for funding from the BEST Community Shed if their projects directly benefit the Inverell community.
From unique hand-made furniture to $2 jeans, Danny said “We want to cater for everyone’s budget”.
Having opened the Community Shed on December 10, Danny was thrilled to see how quickly the town had embraced BEST’s efforts.
“The support that this town’s given us is unbelievable,” he said.
Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall, Senator John Williams and Inverell mayor Paul Harmon were all pleased to take part in the day. The BEST Community Shed is open 9am-3pm weekdays and Saturdays 9am-12pm.