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The Sector > Provider > General News > The Give and Take market helps Oxley Park families to deal with rising cost of living

The Give and Take market helps Oxley Park families to deal with rising cost of living

by Freya Lucas

May 17, 2024

Headlines about the rising cost of living around Australia, and the pressure this places on families, are ubiquitous, particularly with the release of the 2024/25 Budget earlier this week. 


For the team at Uniting Susanna Early Learning Child Care Centre in Oxley Park, New South Wales, the need to respond to the stress and pressure families have been experiencing is a high priority, one which has resulted in a popular community led initiative – the Give and Take Market. 


“Being a small centre, we pride ourselves on building those close, supportive relationships with families and children,” Director Rebecca Reeves explained. 


“Families would often let us know of their struggles and any challenges they were facing, and we genuinely wanted to help them in whatever capacity we could. Many of the challenges from families were the same- financial stress, needing help providing groceries, household items for new babies, clothing for children. We began providing some of these items in our foyer for families through staff donations. We noticed that as quickly as these items would be donated, they would be taken.” 


“Our centre continued to take donations from staff, families, and then other people who had heard about us providing these supports. It wasn’t long before our little foyer wasn’t able to house the donations we had been receiving so we decided to take the donations to the next level, which is where the monthly give and take market began.”


Although the idea had been ‘brewing’ for some time, the challenges of COVID-19 related restrictions held the market back until last year, when it really took off. 


Initially the ‘market’ began in the service of the foyer, where donated belongings were left for families to choose from. People left things they did not need, such as outgrown children’s clothes and shoes, and took the things they might need. 


After the pandemic restrictions eased, the market moved outside, and opened up to the broader community, operating on the last Friday of every month between 10 am and 4 pm. 

Clothes, blankets, shoes, books, DVDs, toys, non-perishable food and homewares in good condition are exchanged, along with all of the ‘extras’ that make life with small children easier – things like formula, nappies, bassinets and car seats.


The only criteria is that donated items must be in a condition that those who are donating would want to receive them in. 


Open to anyone who wishes to access it, the market is on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. 


“The markets have been hugely successful,” Ms Reeves explained. 

“With the support of the Uniting Marketing team we have been able to advertise in local school newsletters and local papers and many members of the community have then referred us by word of mouth.”


For other services who are interested in offering a similar service in their community, Ms Reeves has the following advice: 


“Identify the needs of your families within the service and local community and see where you can help! We all need help at some point in our lives and the starting point is always right in front of you no matter how big or small the help may seem.”


The Give and Take Markets align with one of the Quality Improvement Goals for the service, of trying to increase community connections, increase awareness of the service and the additional support it offers, and to explore ways to expand storage for donations. 


To learn more about Uniting Susanna Early Learning Child Care Centre visit the website

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