By Nigel Tapp
Isolated Tasmanian communities will soon be able to grab a bargain from one of UnitingCare Tasmania’s two new Travelling op shops.
The refurbished Metro buses have been outfitted with space to hang clothes for easy selection, tubs to hold smaller items and baby gear and overhead space for bulkier items. The buses also have a change room with a mirror.
They replace a smaller van which proved very successful but was not large enough to accommodate sufficient stock.
Proceeds from the Uniting Church’s annual Pancake Day were used to purchase and refurbish the vehicles.
Staff will be also be able to assist clients with No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS) applications, provide financial counselling and literacy support and some limited emergency relief food vouchers from the vehicles.
UnitingCare Tasmania chief executive Lindy O’Neill said visitors would be able to enjoy a cuppa and a chat while checking out the goods on offer.
The bus will travel the region monthly, visiting rural and remote communities that don’t generally have access to op shops. Ms O’Neill said the aim was to be able to offer low-cost but good quality clothing and other items to families trying to make ends meet.
“It is all about giving struggling families – many of whom are on fixed incomes –a hand up. A lot of them do not have the funds to travel to a major centre to visit op shops so it made sense to take the shop to them.”
She said UnitingCare was always on the lookout for donations of clean clothing, linen, rugs and curtains.
“We would also be grateful for donations of baby equipment such as prams, strollers, car seats, baths, cots and bassinets providing they meet the Australian Standards,” she said.
“We will also accept kitchen and cooking tools, pots, pans, chopping boards and casseroles dishes.”