Raymond Terrace Rotary Furniture Bank offers a helping hand up, not a hand out

Two Rotarians with some of the furniture bank items which are helping those most vulnerable in our community.

IN 2017, John Chambers, the Past President of the Rotary Club Of Raymond Terrace, identified a need within the community for essential household items.

The Furniture Bank was born and began quietly operating out of a borrowed 20 foot container in the car park of an industrial shed complex in Heatherbrae.

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At the time there were four separate women’s refuges that were seeking assistance.

Often when people are able to secure social housing, the house is empty.

Ernie Elbourne, Service Director of the Rotary Club of Raymond Terrace told News Of The Area, “Donations are sought from the community as, in many cases, second-hand items are worth very little, but to those in need they can be like gold.

“The Project is in keeping with our vision of ‘giving a hand up, not a handout’, as those we assist today generally come via a referral from other frontline agencies.”

In April 2019, through the efforts of member Steve Frith, the Club gained access to a 40 foot HI Cube container that Steve had accepted in exchange for plumbing work.

The container was relocated to the property of past members Ken and Heather Buckingham in May of the same year.

In 2019/2020 the Club purchased test and tag equipment to allow members to test the white goods that pass through the Furniture Bank.

Throughout 2019 and well into 2021 the Club operated in association with the Salamander Bay Recycling Centre, which provided free of charge items on an urgent basis to support those in need.

In 2019/2020 the Club was successful in securing a Federal Government grant to purchase a dedicated single axle trailer with a 1000mm high crate and ramp to supplement the use of Club member trailers.

Then in 2020/2021 the Club secured a Federal Government grant to help in the purchase of two 40 foot HI Cube containers.

Port Stephens Council then assisted the Rotary Club in securing a Development Application approval to locate the containers in a disused car park on Council land.

Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer also assisted by meeting the cost of the first year’s site rental.

In 2021/2022 the Club secured more funding in the form of a Council grant to refurbish their 15-year-old BBQ unit.

This included replacing the trailer that carries the BBQ unit with a new 8×5 heavy duty trailer with crate and drop-down tailgate, so that when the trailer was not in use carrying the BBQ unit it could assist with the expanding Furniture Bank.

The Furniture Bank has continued to go from strength to strength and in 2022/2023 the Furniture Bank secured a State Government grant that will allow the expansion to include a third HI Cube container.

“Port Stephens Council assisted us to secure a variation to the Development Consent to allow a third container to be installed on the site.

“To assist members with the burden of vehicle running costs in the pickup and delivery of essential household items across the Port Stephens area, the club reimburses the cost of fuel only that is funded through our various fundraising activities.

“This year the Furniture Bank program required Rotary Club members to undertake between 20,000 and 25,000 kilometres of travel while conducting between three and five deliveries every week; and potentially nearly as many pickups the program has grown into a significant commitment for those involved.

“The recipients are eternally grateful for the items received, often wishing to help others in need or donating back their items when their circumstances change.”

The program is sustainable as it gives a new life to items that may have ended up in landfill.

The Rotary Club of Raymond Terrace is celebrating its 70th Anniversary on 8 September with a dinner at the Raymond Terrace Bowling Club.

The club invites members of the community to come along and learn more about the exciting activities and opportunities that come with membership of Rotary.

Contact President Adam on 0432 187 010 for more information.


One thought on “Raymond Terrace Rotary Furniture Bank offers a helping hand up, not a hand out

  1. Good morning
    I have a baby’s cot and new cot mattress that has always had 2 mattress protectors on it …. Prob slept in maximum 6 times.
    No one seems to need /want … have advertised locally ( free /give away). Will need to be dismantled and lifted down one flight of stairs

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