The Sewing Basket expands to offer more disability employment opportunities for local communities
“The Sewing Basket provides true social inclusion for people with disability, offering more opportunities to be part of the community, learn work-based skills, meet new people, and build a meaningful personal network based on common interests and creativity.”
Achieve Australia has recently opened a brand new shop and warehouse for The Sewing Basket on the NSW Central Coast at Kincumber, offering new employment opportunities for up to 25 people with disability.
The new site includes a 400 square metre warehouse to sort and store the 100% recyclable, donated stock, alongside a retail shop. As well as an additional 25 NDIS employment positions available at Kincumber, there will be a further 20 positions for local volunteer enthusiasts.
The Sewing Basket has continued to grow since it began more than 20 years ago when Don and Jo McKerrell and friends held annual fabric sales, to raise funds for Crowle Home.
Today, the fourth shop location at Kincumber has been made possible thanks to a community grant from The Ian Potter Foundation and will provide many benefits for people with disability and the local community.
“The Sewing Basket provides true social inclusion for people with disability, offering more opportunities to be part of the community, learn work-based skills, meet new people, and build a meaningful personal network based on common interests and creativity,” says CEO of Achieve Australia, Jo-Anne Hewitt.
Liza Hanna has been working at The Sewing Basket for three years and enjoys the opportunity to get out and meet new people. “I like working because it gets me out of the house and I like working with the volunteers. They are helpful and give me advice,” says Liza, who is also a specialist when it comes to sorting and selecting one-off fabrics. “I enjoy working with the vintage fabrics the most because I can help customers mix and match them with other fabrics that we have in the shop,” explains Liza.
David Rafferty, who manages The Sewing Basket for Achieve Australia, says the new shop and warehouse will help meet a growing need in regional areas for disability employment and local volunteering opportunities.
“We’ve had many requests from customers who want to see us expand to create the kinds of inclusive communities that The Sewing Basket fosters,” says David. “Places where everyone is welcome and there’s a great common bond from shared creativity and working together.”
COVID-19 has also seen a surge in demand at The Sewing Basket, which David expects to continue on the Central Coast. “In the months after lockdown we experienced record sales, and demand has been growing since. People are looking for more home-based activities, and sewing, needlecraft, quilting and embroidery really fit the bill. It’s a trend we’ve seen continuing as people begin to understand the satisfaction and enjoyment they bring,” he says.
Last financial year The Sewing Basket’s Sydney outlets at Newington, Balmain and West Ryde attracted more than 10,000 customer visits and over 75,000 transactions. As a social enterprise, proceeds from the sales go back into the operational costs and in supporting programs for people with disability at work.
The new shop is open from 9am to 3pm Monday to Friday at Unit 5, 11-13 Cochrone St, Kincumber NSW 2251. For supported employment and volunteer enquires, opening hours and more information, visit thesewingbasket.com.au