Tuesday, October 5, 2021
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Reuse, recycle – care for community

WATERLOO: At the base of the Turanga building at 1 Phillip St, a busy bustle of community service takes place every Friday morning under the helpful eye of volunteers Naomi, Di and Anne.

The Waterloo Recycling Workshop, serving the local community since 2008, is run by Counterpoint Community Services (with thanks to Housing NSW for use of the garage) and provides a range of valuable services.

All shelving and fixtures were built from recycled timber by John English, who had a mission to fix and repurpose things for the community, giving furniture new life by crafting a new leg for a table or a chair when it was required rather than sending the item to the tip.

The space has grown since it began, with Naomi sharing the same belief in fixing and reusing everything she can. She “hates waste” and “wants to stop things going to landfill”.

The garage is a treasure trove of objects, providing for people’s needs with furnishings, towels, blankets, kitchenware and even entertainment with some books and DVDs. All objects are donated or are picked up off the streets.

Brian, who had just moved into the area, was looking for some new things for his flat, whereas Maggie, living in Turanga for 44 years, had used the Workshop to source many of the objects in her home, which she had renovated. Maggie used upholstery samples that she found in the workshop as the basis for a blanket, showing ingenuity and creativity.

The garage is filled to overflowing with expressions of care for the community. Anne, Di and Naomi help their visitors and customers find the things they need and suggest things they might like.

The Workshop also serves as a place of social outreach, so that the people who live in the surrounding buildings can meet and socialise safely. Naomi, Di and Anne know the locals who visit them regularly and show interest in their lives, offering help and a sense of community.

The Workshop has commemorated the most important times in people’s lives, both of sadness and celebration. When local Maggie turned 80, the Workshop organised a party onsite replete with cake, candles, music and red carpet. Some years back, it also hosted a memorial service in the community room at the Matavai building for one member of the community who hadn’t had a funeral.

The Waterloo Recycling Workshop accepts donations on Friday mornings from 8.30am to 11.30am excluding clothing, white goods and electrical. If you have something that someone else could use, something you no longer need, please pass it on to the Workshop, where it will live again through the care of Naomi, Di and Anne to enrich someone else’s life.

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For more information phone Naomi on 0407 576 098.

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