The Big R's Shed proves to be a thriving community hub

It's hard to believe that the WDEA Works Social Enterprise's Big R's Shed has been operating for only four months.

It is fast becoming a thriving community hub for those looking to grab a bargain, for repurposing their belongings and for people who are conscious about the environment and adhere to the Big R's philosophy of "re-use, recycle, repurpose, restore".

There is something extra special about the Big R's Shed at Albert Street, Warrnambool - its people.

The Big R's Shed provides retail experiences for WDEA Works supported employees, many of whom have an intellectual disability.

Through the Big R's Shed our supported employees are able to develop key retail skills.

Business manager Paul Hughes

Big R's Shed business manager Paul Hughes said there were 17 supported employees and six support workers on the roster.

"Many of the Big R's Shed staff members came from other WDEA Works enterprise program and feel like family," Mr Hughes said.

"We're excited that through the Big R's Shed our supported employees are able to develop key retail skills. They take responsibility for keeping the shed clean, preparing the stock for sale, using the registers, helping with re-stocking and greeting customers."

Denise Leembruggen said her son the experience of Tom, who was in supported employment in the Big R's Shed, ticked many boxes.

"He's experiencing all aspects of the retail sector, working with customers, preparing and pricing goods for sale and perhaps, more importantly, it's playing a huge role in sustainability by reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfill," Mrs Leembruggen said.

"It's a win-win situation for the community, the supported employees and WDEA Enterprises."

The Big R's Shed is a treasure trove of goodies, including second hand furniture, electrical items, books, DVDs, toys and sporting goods as well as plants and paintings created from other WDEA Works enterprise businesses.

"I'd just like to thank the local community for their overwhelming support of the Big R's Shed," Mr Hughes said.

"We are regularly blown away by the generosity of people who donate their goods to the Big R's Shed.

"We're also incredibly busy with people now coming to us as their first place to shop when looking for a new piece of furniture. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for the Big R's Shed."

The Big R's Shed is located at 11 Albert Street, Warrnambool and is open Monday to Friday, from 8.30am to 3.30pm.

For more information visit @thebigrsshed on Facebook or www.wdeaworks.org.au.

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