Have you been wondering what to do about those many useful items we all seem to accumulate in our homes but no longer have a need for? Donations to Charity shops such as Vinnies and our own Glebe Street Op shop are certainly an avenue through which to ‘recycle’ good functional items, but sometimes the effort of getting them there seems too difficult. If you’re like me they often go into the attic or the garage and gather dust until, in absolute frustration, you throw them out in a council clean-up where they are sometimes retrieved from the pavement, or worse still, cast them straight into the rubbish bin.
It is my belief that many people would willingly donate useful goods to others who could use them if a relatively easy way of doing so could be found. To this end I’ve been investigating how it might be done.
‘Pyrmont Cares’ (www.pyrmontcares.org.au) operates a service through which items of furniture and white goods may be recycled and given to those people who obtain unfurnished property but are unable to furnish it themselves. This includes refugees, ex-homeless persons, victims of domestic violence and those released from detention. GIVIT (www.givit.org.au) is a national not-for-profit organisation connecting those who have with those who need, in a private and safe way. GIVIT supports all agencies, services and charities in Australia who work directly with impoverished, marginalised and vulnerable people and makes it easier for organisations to empower their clients and improve quality of life by obtaining the items they require through the website, at no cost. It has grown into an Australia wide organisation which also responds to disasters.
However it occurred to me that it may be possible to achieve a community process right here in Glebe. We could assist our near neighbours to acquire items they may need while at the same time benefiting through the donation of functional things we no longer have a use for. To that end a preliminary approach has been made to many of the service providers in Glebe outlining an idea for a local initiative. Replies from several agencies indicate that they would consider using the process.
A full explanation of the process follows:
- To create a process through which people could offer to donate goods they no longer need to others who need/want such items, but may be unable to purchase them. Eg. TV, baby cot, walking frame, etc.
- Items must be in good condition, in working order, licit, safe to use, manageable by one person and capable of fitting into a car or hatchback.
- No large furniture, clothing, footwear, consumables, mattresses or damaged goods will be accepted.
- No money would change hands. Items must be offered and received freely.
- The Platform will essentially target Glebe agencies and residents.
- Very positive response to Christmas gift collection from TGSI members.
- Suggestion in TGSI survey that more could be achieved in this manner.
- Many items have been offered to me in my ‘community role’ by individuals and the volunteer manager at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse (things given to the hospital they can’t use) for ‘rehousing’ with a local charity. Eg Suit cases, small furniture items, make-up items.
- I have been able to distribute these to Elsie Refuge, the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown and Glebe Public School but there may be others locally in Glebe who could benefit.
- Donors could declutter while at the same time supporting others in our community.
Requirements to actuate Platform
- Web page on TGSI website showing monthly list. (accessible to all).
- Person with ‘access rights’ to manage online list. (administrator).
- Contact for donations and enquiries to be firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Local service agencies interest and assistance to:
1. Advertise existence of the Platform & list to their client bases;
2. Utilise list on behalf of clients;
3. Make initial contact with administrator or donor on behalf of client;
4. Inform Administrator (email@example.com) of successful match so pick-up and delivery can be scheduled.
- Administrator (firstname.lastname@example.org) to send monthly update of items to service agencies.
- Administrator would retain right to remove any items deemed inappropriate/unsafe from list.
NB. Administrator of Platform will not store items.
- Items could be listed by emailing to email@example.com with information re item(s) – name, description, and photo (optional). Donors would also need to indicate their name , address and preferred contact details (phone or email; the latter is preferable).
- Administrator would use this information to create a spreadsheet to be put online on www.glebesociety.org.au for people to view, and to forward it to social service agencies in Glebe each month. (No names, addresses or contact details will be shown online to protect privacy and security of donors, however the names of cooperating agencies would be included to advise donors and clients.)
- Items would be listed for one month only, during which time donor would retain item unless/until it is claimed. If not claimed after 1 month donor would dispose as they see fit.
- Monthly Spreadsheet sent to agencies will include contact details for donor, but no addresses.
- Local Service agencies will be encouraged to use spreadsheet to locate items their clients need/could utilize.
- Agencies would make initial request on behalf of a client directly to donor offering the item or through firstname.lastname@example.org. (This is to legitimize the request & prevent scammers trying to collect free goods to sell. Public disallowed from making direct requests to protect donors’ privacy.)
- Donors could respond to request directly or through the agency. Once a donor and client are matched, the exchange process could be facilitated through a same day pick-up and delivery process, undertaken on a specific day (eg last Thursday of month) by a TGSI member volunteer.
- Agency would inform Administrator (email@example.com) of successful match, citing name, address & contact details of client so that pick-up and delivery can be scheduled.
- People wishing to take up offers would need to make own arrangements to ensure someone is available to receive the item on day of delivery (last Thursday of month).
Advice to donors
- Please ensure someone is home to hand item to volunteer at pick-up(last Thursday of month)
- Only the Administrator and volunteer driver who is collecting item(s) will be given a donor’s address to ensure privacy.
- Please note: Admin will not be held accountable for any issues encountered during your transaction.
- Be careful and cautious when giving out personal details and beware of scammers.
- Please remember your safety and security at all times.
Examples of the type of items visualized are educational toys, vaporizer, baby gate, laptop, microwave, baby bouncer, high chair, clean blankets, pram, stroller, portable cot, vacuum cleaner, child’s car seat, sewing machine, kitchen items such as pots & pans, toaster, jug, cutlery & crockery sets, fan, heater, radio, lamp, small TV, bean bag, small occasional table, tools, cleaning items – bucket, mop, broom, brush & pan, mobility aids – crutches, folding walker, zimmerframe, cane, suitcase, usable towels, etc.
Of course, as well as donated items, such a process also requires personnel to make it work. I am therefore keen to hear from society members on two counts. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are likely and able to donate items, and secondly, if you have a vehicle and time to assist in the pick-up and delivery process I’d love to hear from you too.
If you have other comments or suggestions for improving the plan please forward those to me as well. I really believe that if this can be put into action the whole Glebe community could benefit.
Janice Challinor, Community Committee Convenor