The Clare District Lions Club are celebrating the reopening of their second-hand furniture shed. The Club donates proceeds from the furniture sales to several local organisations, as well as donating items of furniture to those in need.
Club members, Doug Booth and Rob Royal write more:
The Clare Lions Furniture Shed has reopened after the Festive season break.
The Shed, located at 2 Harriett Street, will celebrate its third anniversary in June and its success continues to go from strength to strength.
In that time, the shed has donated more than $55,000 from furniture sales to the nearby communities of Blyth, Burra, Auburn and Watervale.
Organisations such as Operation Flinders Foundation and The Wool, Wine and Wheat Country Education Foundation have benefitted from the Shed’s proceeds. In addition, Clare Hospital has received a diabetes testing machine, as well as items of furniture.
The Shed’s history goes back to 2017 when the local thrift shop stopped accepting furniture because the items were often large and heavy, making them difficult to transport and store.
“Almost immediately, there was an increase in the amount of unwanted secondhand furniture being disposed of at the Local Council Waste Transfer Station,” said Shed manager, Dave Simpson, “besides (wasting) furniture, it led to higher volumes going to landfill, which increased costs for Council and, by default, ratepayers.”
The idea of starting up a secondhand furniture shop then developed within the Clare District Lions Club who, after researching secondhand ventures by other groups, decided to give it a go.
With the generous support of a local family, the Club gained access to a large warehouse and office in a prime location, with no lease payment required for the first six months.
“This was enough time to see if would be a success or not,” assistant Shed manager Chris Ballantyne said.
Using a trailer purchased with a grant and members’ personal utes for collections and deliveries, the operation took off.
Officially opened by the Local, State and Federal politicians in July 2019 with great coverage by local media, the Lions Furniture Shed quickly became the place to take unwanted, quality furniture and white goods.
“All items are sold at very reasonable prices, ensuring a speedy turnover,” said Simpson.
Items from the Shed have been donated to those in need through local community care groups such as Uniting Country SA.
“Sometimes (we donated) just one or two items, but on a number of occasions it has been for a whole house; lounge, dining, beds and fridges for families—mostly single mums with children needing emergency accommodation,” said Allan Mayfield, President of Clare District Lions Club.
Throughout 2020, the store was closed for several months due to Covid-19; however, emergency donations and some collections continued. During this period, rent payments were kindly frozen by the owner of the property.
Since reopening, sales have been consistent. So much so that the Club recently purchased a quality secondhand 4×4 ute, removing the need for members to use their own vehicles.
The Furniture Shed is now a big revenue raiser for the club, but it is more than that.
“We have helped many through our donations of furniture. We have especially helped those unable to buy new furniture, such as those starting out on their first home (and) all local ratepayers by reducing land fill costs to the Council, as well as helping our environment,” said Mayfield
“In the store we also sell Lions cakes and have our Recycle for Sight collection bin. It is our Lion’s Den,” added Simpson.
Volunteering at the shed has become an option for those unemployed or as an alternative to school. In most cases, working with a great mob of Lions and other volunteers has helped them develop the skills and confidence to pursue paid employment.
The Furniture Shed is open 9:30am to 3:30pm on Fridays and 9am to 12pm on Saturdays. To learn more click HERE.