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Charity begins at Canberra’s Handmade Markets

Emma Macdonald

On your way into Handmade Markets, you could make a difference.

It’s simply spare change to many – a few gold coins tossed in a bucket in the excitement of a big shopping day at Handmade Markets. But did you know that the local charities that have been selected to collect coins from passing shoppers have benefitted from tens of thousands of dollars in donations for their worthy causes?

From the Vinnies Blanket Drive, to Dragons Abreast, Menslink, Bosom Buddies, Anglicare and Share the Dignity, local charities have been the big winners from the Handmade Market’s Giving policy.

Market founder Julie Nichols said that one of the benefits of not charging an entry free – and providing free parking at EPIC Exhibition Park – was that a large number of the 20,000-plus market goers were happy to donate to charity.

“People love to support Handmade, and then that support for us translates to support for some really incredible charities. It allows the Handmade Market to give back to the community and raises awareness of some really important social issues in the local region,” said Julie.

She noted that the charity workers were always non-intrusive and that donations were encouraged but not expected.

“It has always been a really well-received aspect of the market – an addition to the good feelings of shopping and supporting local on the day.”

handmade canberra

The next blockbuster market is fast-approaching – scheduled over the weekend of 16 and 17 September.

It will be the start of Floriade, which presents an opportunity for interstate visitors to make it the ultimate Canberra weekend experience when two of the city’s most successful tourist events coincide.

Meanwhile, for locals who never miss an opportunity to support their local creatives and makers, there are 50 new designers signing on this market alongside those in-demand and established names.

September’s chosen charity is Dragon’s Abreast, a national organization of breast cancer survivors who spread the vital message of breast cancer awareness and hope through the vibrant sport of dragon boat racing.

There will also be a stall dedicated to the Newborn Intensive Care Foundation which raises funds for the incredible work of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Canberra’s Centenary Hospital for Women in Children. The team will be selling baked goods – donated by professional Canberra bakers – for the cause.

According to Share the Dignity’s ACT Team Leader Nikki Bensch, Handmade Market was one of the first big organisations to come on board and support the idea that disadvantaged women in the region would appreciate donated sanitary products.


“Julie and the team immediately got in behind us and we have done two April Markets – each time collecting about 500 boxes of sanitary products, which is a fantastic result.”

“Handmade is a really wonderful awareness-raising event for us and Julie and her staff are wonderful promoters of women collectively,” said Nikki.

Meanwhile, shoppers will be asked this Market to support an exciting overseas event for breast cancer survivors and their supporters as Dragons Abreast seeks to compete in a boating race in Florence.


Image by Kayakcameraman Paul Jurak

Dollars donated will cover boat registration and uniforms.

Money will also go towards equipment for the benefit of all Canberra Dragons Abreast members. Spokeswoman Julie Kesby said Handmade Market collections always provided a friendly and positive information exchange.

“From our perspective, we get to raise money but also spread the word about the work we do across the community,” she said.

“A lot of people don’t know about the sort of activities and support we provide – and that women recovering from breast cancer can be active and competitive and it is safe to lift their arms above their heads. There is a lot of life left to live after breast cancer!”

the essentials

What: Handmade Market Spring 2017
When: Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September. Doors open at 10am and close at 4pm
Where: EPIC Exhibition Park, corner of Flemington Road and Northbourne Avenue, Mitchell
Entry: Free but donations to charity collectors are encouraged
More information:

Slider image: Sypplied by @Kayakcameraman Paul Jurak.

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Emma Macdonald

Emma Macdonald has been writing about Canberra and its people for more than 20 years, winning numerous awards for her journalism - including a Walkley or two - along the way. Canberra born and bred, she’s fiercely loyal to the city, tribally inner-north, and relieved the rest of the country is finally recognising Canberra’s cool and creative credentials. More about the Author

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