The Seagull Centre
It’s been a while since I last blogged, I was a little tied up last week, but I wanted to share with you my excursion today to the Seagull Centre, a Community run Waste Reduction and Resource centre in Thames, in the Coromandel.
“A Salvage Centre offering affordable second hand goods to people living in our community. Inspiring people to reduce, reuse and recycle unwanted goods.”
There is no inorganic collection in the Thames area, but people are able to bring items to the centre for free, and if they are unable to do so, the Seagull Centre has a ute, donated to them by a local business, to go and collect them.
The Seagull Centre accepts and sells furniture, white-ware, electronics (all tested), computers, as well as clothes books and all the things you would expect to see in a second hand store.
The Seagull centre is self funded, and turns a profit, whilst saving the council and the community money on the cost of dumping! After an initial grant from their council the Centre and a low rent on council land, the Seagull Centre now employs 6 Full time equivalent staff, has funded its own expansion and is able to deliver grants to other community groups.
It does this even though it prides itself on its ‘community pricing’. The team at the Seagull Centre believe very strongly in sharing the benefits with the community. Most goods go straight back into the local community, and prices are kept very low.
There is free firewood for collection and gas heaters are sold for as little as $5 to help people keep warm in the winter months. John McKeowen tells me he could list and sell the items for more money on TradeMe, but prefers to keep things local.
I saw books sold at 5 for a dollar, Vinyl records 11 for a dollar, clothes sold by weight, big heavy whiteware items like ovens and dishwashers sold for $50 untested, exchangeable or returnable if they don’t work, and in clearance times, items like mattresses and furniture can go for $1 each!
There is a real focus on education at the Seagull Centre, with workshops run out of a dedicated space and plans to expand the range of skills shared.
Last year people from the Seagull Centre supported the Thames Steampunk event, making props, and they intend to continue it this year.
In fact the Seagull Centre has big plans for the future, at the urging of the Thames-Coromandel District Council, to get even more involved in waste diversion.
Currently people going to the transfer station can visit the Seagull Centre first, donate goods, and then go to the tip with a lighter load, the new plans have all visitors to the tip going through the Seagull Centre to get there, with a recycling and sorting facility on site!
I managed to see a draft of these plans, and it looks like a great way to reduce the amount of waste Thames sends to landfill even further.
As John McKeowen put it simply today, “Everybody wins”
Good on you Seagull Centre.