14 September 2017

Don't throw it out this spring clean, just GIVIT at Floriade

| Ian Bushnell
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#DonateRejuvenate House at Floriade: ready to fill with re-usable goods for domestic violence survivors as part of GIVIT’s spring campaign in Canberra.

Waste not, want not is an old adage with renewed meaning this year at Floriade where children can enjoy the art of recycling as part of a charity project to provide practical assistance to survivors of domestic violence.

At the BUGS + BLOOMS Creative Kids’ Workshops during the school holidays, children aged seven and up can work with local artists to create whimsical insects and flowers from recycled materials for the sculptural Rejuvenation Garden at #DonateRejuvenate House, a pop-up house where Floriade visitors and corporate donors can donate essential goods for local domestic violence survivors.

The workshops and the house have been brought to Floriade by one of its charity partners, the national not-for-profit organisation GIVIT, in association with Wellspring Environmental Arts & Design.

New to Canberra, GIVIT connects donors and those in need through its website and virtual warehouse, which eliminates the need for organisations to store, sort and dispose of unwanted items, saving valuable time and resources.

#DonateRejuvenate House aims to encourage and inspire the community to donate items to our most vulnerable residents. Floriade visitors will be able to search online for items required by local residents in need and match their pre-loved goods to that need.

Founded in Queensland in 2008, the organisation made its name during the aftermath of floods and cyclone and is now the official partner with the State Government for the management of all donated goods and services, including corporate offers of assistance, during the recovery phase of natural disasters.

Founder and CEO Juliette Wright said the move into the ACT sprang from her experience in the 2015 Australian Day awards when she was named Local Hero and connected with Australian of the Year and domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty.

Juliette Wright

GIVIT CEO Juliette Wright.

“I spent a lot of time in Canberra and built up a community of friends, people who just loved GIVIT,” she said. “At the time we only had two charities requesting help in the ACT.”

She went to the ACT Government and requested funding to specifically support struggling domestic violence organisations as well as other groups in need.

The result was teaming up with ACT NOWaste, which she said was a perfect fit for an organisation that finds a home for preloved goods.

GIVIT now supports 60 charities in the ACT, among 1500 across Australia.

Ms Wright described her stakeholder map as complex with insurer IAG supporting its national roll-out, and a mix of government and corporate support such as the BankWest Foundation in Western Australia, as well as public donations.

“We’re a charity for charities. You can donate to a homeless service or domestic violence service, 1500 charities across Australia dealing with the most vulnerable people in all the communities. Our goal is to support those charities so they can support their clients’ needs,” she said.

“Charities do a great job but they can’t provide everything to everybody. They can’t have a warehouse the size of Kmart to choose from for their clients,” she said. “The great thing about GIVIT is we’re free. They can just log on and take what they need for their clients.”

GIVIT also took pressure off the grants system by being able to provide goods such as office equipment direct to charities.

But Ms Wright said simple items could make a massive difference to people’s lives, such as the work boots that could help a father get the job to support his family. For donors it was a practical way to make a difference rather than just giving money.

She said the pop-up house at Floriade was an opportunity for people to do the spring clean and think of GIVIT at the same time.

“It’s such a huge thing for GIVIT to be involved with such a wonderful festival,”she said.

The BUGS + BLOOMS Creative Kids’ Workshops will be held at the #DonateRejuvenate House at Floriade twice daily during the school holidays (23 September – 8 October), with limited places available. Cost is $20.40.

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