Romsey Community Co-op a success story

The Romsey Community Co-Op Shop is thriving since opening last year, becoming a one-stop-shop for the community. Pictured at its opening, is Judith Mc Kay, Laurie Sklifas, Signy Connell, Shellie Pattle, and Romsey Neighbourhood House co-ordinator Michelle Balthazar.

THE Romsey Community Co-op has thrived since opening its doors last year including implementing several initiatives and obtaining more than 100 volunteers.

Romsey Neighbourhood House coordinator Michelle Balthazar said the co-op focused on its motto, ‘for the community by the community’, when implementing new programs.

“Our next stage of the co-op is well underway and that’s having a hairdresser on the premises. She’s big on environmentally-friendly and sustainable products,” she said.

“It’s really in line with the co-op’s philosophy. We also have a special pension day for haircuts, and it’s very exciting to have that happening.

“We’ve almost got our commercial kitchen, which community members can book out if they want to produce food to sell.”

Ms Balthazar said the group was hoping to get a food share program operating soon.

“We want to enable people to come in to buy, swap or sell food based items, or if people have excess they can bring it in and swap it,” she said.

“If people are in need, we want them to be able to come in and take what they need, and if they want they can be put on a register for support.

“We’re going to be producing meals for people in need, and our hope is that more people can access it. We also hope people in the community could volunteer as chefs or cooks to come on board.”

Ms Balthazar said the group had been inundated with support.

“We really just want to express how overwhelmed we are by the generosity in the community, we’ve had amazing drop-ins of food for our community support service,” she said.

“Someone in the community offered us half a cow, eggs, and we’ve had donations of fruit and vegetables. We’re so touched by that whole community adoption initiative and the commitment.”

Romsey residents will also soon be able to access mental health support at the co-op.

“We’re organising for the launch of a mind health hub, which will mean we can aim to demystify getting support and help for people when they need it. We’re breaking down the stigma,” Ms Balthazar said.

“We will have telehealth appointments with psychologists, enable people to come in and have a cuppa, or just have a space where they can go at the hub.”

The co-op committee has also launched a program that encourages residents to shop locally.

“Clothe It Forward is when people support local traders by shopping at the community co-op, and we pay it forward by giving them a $20 voucher or more,” Ms Balthazar said.

“They can redeem the voucher for brand new items, which means they’re basically getting it for free.”

For more information or to find out how to get involved, visit the Romsey Co-op Facebook page.

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