20 December 2023

Reuse and repair with Reviva: the Shellharbour shop selling second chances

| Keeli Royle
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Jarrod Roskell Reviva Dunmore.

Reviva Dunmore provides opportunities to customers, employees and the community. Photos: Keeli Royle.

It’s the one-stop in Shellharbour for everything from surfboards and sporting equipment to electricals, furniture and knick-knacks.

The Reviva Reuse Shop is renowned for rehoming and recycling preloved goods destined for landfill, but the products aren’t the only ones getting a second chance – employees, the community and the planet are all benefitting from the service as well.

More and more people are choosing to shop second-hand as a more sustainable and affordable option. Over 15,000 people used the Reviva service in the last financial year, but Reviva Dunmore manager Jarrod Roskell said many customers are still shocked by how much is on offer.

“They’re definitely surprised,” he said. “I think by being surprised too, it sort of brings awareness to reuse and recycling too, they don’t have to go to a shop and buy something brand new.”

“When you see quality items like you see in our bric a brac shed, and sometimes when you give them a polish or a clean up, it’s all it needs.”

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Jarrod said Reviva serves the whole community, from elderly people to young couples needing furniture for their first home, while also diverting waste from landfill.

Recently it’s also been able to spread some Christmas cheer after receiving five truckloads of supplies from Stockland Shellharbour, including Christmas trees, decorations and even Santa’s sleigh itself.

“The amount of stuff that we’ve given out the Shellharbour community at a really hard time of the year for an affordable price, you can see on people’s faces how much it actually means to them,” he said.

Many items need little more than a wipe down or shine, but there are also plenty of projects to choose from for those with a passion for DIY.

Work can be completed right on-site at The Tinkerage, where customers can access tools and a workshed and expert advice.

“The people that come repair things and repurpose things that are retrieved from landfill,” The Tinkerage coordinator Anita Johnson said. “Sometimes they bring things from home that are broken, bring them in and use the tools here to fix things and then take them back home again.”

“We also run workshops here in skilling people to do with repair and reuse, things like upholstering, servicing bikes, mosaics, fixing chairs, sharpening things, bird houses, bee boxes, repurposing all kinds of things.”

Anita said it is as much about the people as it is about the projects.

“It’s also a social model where people support each other in their projects and also consequently in their personal lives so it’s not just about the physical things that happen here but it’s also about building community and relationships between people,” she said.

“There are around the country Men’s Shed systems, which are extremely well funded, but a lot of people can’t access Men’s Sheds, so this is an everyone’s shed.”

Skills development doesn’t stop at The Tinkerage, as employees are trained to process polystyrene, helping to remove two tonnes from landfill every year, which gets recycled offsite into products like kitchen benchtops, insulation and picture frames.

Many are also provided pathways for different accreditations and to improve their capabilities in a variety of areas.

“They’ve got me my tag and test licence, so I can now tag and test electronic items as they come in to see if they work and if they’re safe to plug in,” team leader Daniel Sommer said.

“I’ve got first aid certificates now, it’s the first time I’ve ever driven a truck so I’ve got my MR [medium rigid vehicle] licence and I’m just more open with socialising now.”

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It also provides opportunities for those in tough times or facing barriers to employment.

“I was unemployed for about two and a half to three years at that point,” Daniel said. “The point that I got my job, my dad had just passed away, so it was a rough time for me and the family, but they gave me an opportunity and it means everything to me at the moment.

“I can’t see myself anywhere else.”

This is all made possible under the leadership of site manager Jarrod, who has experienced first-hand how hard it can be to get a start.

He started with the company through the Working for the Dole program before climbing into higher positions and using his experience at every level to become a great leader.

“To mentor someone and to see them grow, and to help them out of that bad situation and see them change as a person is absolutely amazing,” Jarrod said.

“The best part of my job is changing lives the way this changed mine.”

To find out more or to get in touch, visit the Resource Recovery Australia website.

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