VIDEO: In with the old, out with the new
MAKING use of everything that can be saved and recycled is how the Grafton group Mend and Make Do are helping combat the homelessness problem in the area.
With a new premises in South Grafton, the group is going to start working on a wider range of projects.
Page MP Kevin Hogan and Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis both attended the official opening this week.
"In the roles myself and Chris have we see the very best in the community, and we see the worst in the community," Mr Hogan said at the launch.
"It's great to be here to acknowledge this today and to have been of some assistance, because this type of grassroots community organisation is essential for a functional community.
"Governments play a role and we can assist, but governments can't drive this. This is only works if people who want to make a difference and help their community get in.
"I humbly thank people like you for the work you are doing in our community, because it really is important and changes lives for the better."
Ursula Tunks, who helped set up the group, said tit had worked towards opening a new op shop and area where it could run workshops that give people new skills and help them feel included.
"What we want to be able to do is get to a position where the op shop part funds the rent and then we can go out to other not for profits and say what can we do with our skills here that will help you," Ms Tunks said.
"Now that we are in here we can start to cater towards traditionally male arts and crafts. We've got leather working tools, we can do some furniture restoration," she said.
"Now we've got that space we can cater for that."
Ms Tunks said they began work on toiletries kits after discovering a stock pile of supplies in the storeroom of one of the local charities who didn't have the man power to compile them.
"We're close to 2000 kits that we've got out completely unfunded with a really conservative value on the adult kits of about $10," she said.
"That's $20,000 worth of support to not just the homeless people but the agencies."
Ms Tunks added that their group works to support the agencies that help homeless people.
"At the end of the day we don't have the expertise to be working at the coal face with homeless people or anyone else in need, but we can support the agencies by providing this service and making their jobs easier," she said.