Thank you, Madam Speaker.
I rise to congratulate the Scullin Community Group on the very successful launch of their community enterprise hub, Scullin Traders. They are a great example of what can happen when committed residents unite in a common cause. The group only started in October last year, with the goal to build community and transform the struggling local shops. In the past seven months, they have set up street libraries (which my children love!), introduced Tuesday night social soccer, and designed and installed a community noticeboard, amongst other things. And now they have launched their very own pop-up store by leasing the front half of the wholesale bakery in the local shopping centre.
Scullin Traders is no ordinary shop, however. It is, as the group proudly proclaims, an ‘experiment of community, creativity and local transparency’. Fit out by volunteers for under $3,000, the shop sells bread, milk and basics; provides comfy lounges for locals to sit and enjoy a coffee; and sublets space to a variety of micro-traders selling fresh flowers, jewellery, soaps and ceramics. Florey’s popular Café Bolivar – home of my favourite empanadas – has opened a second coffee van outside, and Scullin Traders has coworking desk slots available for hire inside.
The Scullin Community Group are already busy planning future workshops to be held in this space, and they are entertaining the idea of evening programs with live music. One of the objectives behind launching Scullin Traders was to revitalise the local shops and hopefully draw other businesses back into the suburb. What a fantastic example of community initiative!
Scullin Traders is also exceptional in being run entirely by volunteers. Those who put their hands up are asked to commit to one or two shifts per week, with each shift being four to eight hours. Many of the current volunteers are local Scullin residents, but the enterprise has also attracted interested Canberrans from elsewhere across the territory. Trading hours are dependent on the availability of volunteers, and I personally thank my generous and community-minded neighbours who are making this happen.
On a recent visit to Scullin Traders, the volunteer running the shop was a young mother of four. She was able to provide this service by bringing her small baby with her – a fantastic reminder that people in all kinds of life stages are able engage in the volunteerism that lifts both the giver and the community. This mum’s children will no doubt grow up with a firsthand understanding of how important it is to give of themselves in ways that build and strengthen their community.
Small businesses and the people who own and run them are integral to the health and wellbeing of our community too, and I wish great success to all the entrepreneurs involved in any way with Scullin Traders. I strongly encourage the residents of my electorate of Ginninderra to stop by, have a look, and support this inspiring community effort … and maybe even sign up for a shift or two.