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Roundabout Canberra: bridging the gap

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There is no better feeling than knowing you have helped someone in need.

And there’s no better way to start helping than to start local. Inspired by Melbourne-based group St Kilda Mums and the Dandelion Support Network in Sydney, Roundabout Canberra is a not-for-profit organisation bridging the gap between pre-loved baby items and mothers who are enduring hardship and raising children in difficult circumstances.

The first few years of a baby’s life are challenging for all new mums, let alone for ones who are struggling to find work or a stable household. Canberran Hannah Andrevski founded Roundabout after she was left with an excess of quality baby items after having two young children. After contemplating selling them, she decided she wanted to pass them on to someone who really needed them. She also found there were a lot of other new mums making conversation online about where to give their pre-loved baby items, and after contacting various charities and discovering they had no storage or staff to cater to baby items specifically, Roundabout Canberra was born in February this year.

In just nine months, the volunteer not-for-profit team has successfully worked with local organisations including Barnardos, the Canberra Hospital, Karinya House and Child and Youth Protection.

“When we receive donations from the public, we inspect them very carefully and fix things so they’re up to Australian Safety Standards,” Hannah explains. “We work directly with social services, not with the clients themselves so our relationships with the services are really important. Social services like Karinya House will contact us with a list of needs for their clients, they will come and collect them from us and they will then pass them on to the people in need.”

Connecting people in this way means that Roundabout can make things happen at a grassroots level.

“We had one young mother with a three-year-old and a one-year-old who was also expecting twins,” says Hannah. “We wanted to cater to her with a twin pram, but a one-year-old is still a baby so we thought she would be better off with a triple pram, which we have never received as a donation. As we are a grassroots organisation, any money we have is fundraised thanks to the Canberra community. Through our Facebook page, we were able to fundraise enough money to buy her a great quality triple pram, and that just changed her life.”

Although Roundabout has had much success and is constantly in need of numerous baby-related donations such as prams, bassinets and reversible car seats, they are most in need of volunteers to assist with the processing of goods.

“What we really need at the moment are volunteers,” Hannah explains. “People who have some spare time and want to give back to their community surrounded by like-minded people.”

As the Christmas period approaches, Roundabout needs all the help they can get. If you wish to volunteer, visit Roundabout’s website for a list of volunteer sessions held each week at their storage location at the Kaleen Sports Club. Kids are welcome during our day sessions and will be kept well entertained as well as being educated in the art of giving back.

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