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Hidden Treasures for Good

The Bugle App

Bellinda Dunn

08 March 2024, 12:18 AM

Hidden Treasures for GoodVolunteer Margaret MItchell in the Mayflower Nearly New shop

When visiting Gerringong, I always enjoy rummaging around in the eclectic shop on Fern Street and regularly leave with one or more great second-hand bargains. You never know what you‘ll find (that you never knew you couldn’t live without!) on the crowded but we-kept racks and shelves: perhaps beautiful vintage earrings; a designer dress; artisan glassware; old English bone china - or a game, book, or other collectible item. A few years back, I pounced on a stunning straight knee-length black leather skirt, priced at $15, which became a useful staple and firm favourite in my wardrobe for many years. 

At Gerringong’s Mayflower Nearly New shop, you can pick up a fashion or decorative piece, last-minute gift, household item, or something to entertain the kids - all at bargain prices - while helping both the environment (via recycling/circularity) and those less fortunate.

Staffed by a group of friendly, helpful and hard-working volunteers and loved by locals and passing visitors alike, the shop is as popular with children, teenagers and fancy-dress party attendees, as it is with adults and seniors. 

Margaret Mitchell has volunteered in the shop for the last five years. She recalls an eight-year-old boy sorting through piles of plates, emerging triumphantly with a piece of English fine-bone china. He had recently started a collection, and his mother remarked that she fully expected to see him soon on Antiques Roadshow. 

Another volunteer remembers an entrepreneurial ten-year-old handbag connoisseur, who was extremely excited to shell out his pocket money on a well-known international designer bag, in excellent condition and at a miniscule fraction of its original price.  

A woman from Boston in town to attend her son’s wedding at Seacliff the next day came in frantic because she’d only brought with her winter clothes. Margaret and another volunteer Ronwyn Miller, worked together to kit her out for the wedding, with a day and evening dress, two pairs of shoes and a fascinator! After the wedding, the wedding-goer found Margaret to thank her and raved about the compliments she’d received on her ‘boutique’ outfits. 

On another occasion, a visiting family of campers had all their belongings stolen, so they came into the shop to restock essential household items needed for their stay.  

On Tuesday mornings, a team of dedicated volunteers receive and sort donations at a sorting shed on the corner of Rowlands Road and Belinda Street.  

The shop’s earnings go towards various initiatives and items to enrich the lives of Mayflower residents, which last year included: 

  • A final payment for the stained-glass windows in the chapel;
  • Modern wheelchairs for residents and family or carers use; 
  • Concerts for residents; and 
  • ‘Pets for Therapy’ visits to the nursing home. 

Other worthwhile donations from the shop’s proceeds included to:

  • Salt Care in Nowra - to assist with a womens’ refuge and to purchase backpack kits for the homeless
  • KEBECET - towards a Kiama High program for children with learning difficulties
  • Light Home - assisting the very poor in India
  • Homestead of Hope, Kiama