Building connections across the community

Bush fires are rife throughout the summer in South Australia. Red Cross are the first there and the first in action offering their support.

When she moved to Blenheim four years ago, Jenny wanted to build new connections and get involved in her community. Seeing a sign for ‘Volunteers wanted’, she was quick to sign up as a volunteer in the Blenheim Red Cross shop. “I wanted a way to meet people in the district – and Red Cross was it.”

Jenny gets a lot out of her role as a shop volunteer. “People come into the shop, spend a little bit of money, and come out smiling. That’s a fun part of my job – seeing those smiles.

“The other day, four girls came in to buy a gift for their teacher. They spent about 15 minutes discussing what they should buy. They talked about what their teacher would like and how it related to what they’d been learning in class. After much debate, the girls came up to the counter and paid their $2, all in small change! They walked out really happy with their purchase.”

Alongside a rewarding retail experience, Jenny says the shops provide a community service. “All of the money from buying items goes back to Red Cross, to help out other people in the community. So the shops have a wonderful multiplier effect.”

Now that Jenny has settled into her community and made new friends, she’s encouraging them to help out Red Cross too. “I have a great time getting my friends to donate goods. One of my friends moved house recently and has been so generous with all of the items she’s donated to the shop. People are happy to donate – they’re being constructive, and helping out their community.”

Shop move means a call for donations

The Blenheim shop will be closing its doors for a week from 15 November, before re-opening in a brand new space on Maxwell Road, on 22 November. Shop stock will expand from clothes and fashion items, to include homeware, manchester and books.

Jenny and the shop’s 15 other volunteers are on the lookout for donations. Marlborough residents can drop off their quality second-hand items to the current Red Cross shop, 13 Charles Street; or at the new shop when it’s open. Residents can also fill up donation stations, which are cardboard boxes at various workplaces who’ve requested them, throughout Marlborough. Donation stations are also situated at the Z petrol station in Picton, the supermarket in Seddon, and the Z petrol station in Springlands.

To volunteer

If you’re interested in gaining new skills and making new friends, apply online to volunteer at a Red Cross shop.