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Digital nomads give charity a boost

Laura Farge-Lowe, front, managing director of Island Trading, donates a sofa to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Sheelagh Cooper, the chairwoman of Habitat for Humanity of Bermuda, standing left, and Sonia Burgess, sales associate at Island Trading (Photograph supplied)

Digital nomads have helped boost income at a charity shop set up to raise funds for families in need.

Sheelagh Cooper, the chairwoman of Habitat for Humanity of Bermuda, said that the organisation was “thrilled” by the support for its ReStore on Hamilton’s Front Street.

She added: “So many of the folks who have been granted residency permits and have rented apartments have come in to shop.

“Those from the United States and Canada are all familiar with the Habitat ReStore concept as most major cities in both countries have them, operated by Habitat for Humanity.

“They come into the shop knowing that they will not only get a bargain, but will be helping to fund our project at the same time.”

The Government’s One Year Residential Certificate programme started last August and allows stays for remote workers and students from overseas.

A Government spokesman said yesterday that by the start there were 648 applications made with payments and 570 approvals at the start of this month.

Money raised at the ReStore, which is in the former Bluck’s fine china store, will go towards the Transformational Living Centre for Families – a project spearheaded by Habitat for Humanity and the Women’s Resource Centre.

Ms Cooper said: “We are so lucky to have a great business model – all of our furniture is donated, the building is rent free – thanks to the Bluck family – and all of our staff are volunteers.

“On top of that we are in a great location and we are one of the few charity shops open six days a week.”

She said that items donated to the shop recently included a “brand new” sofa given by Island Trading.

Ms Cooper said: “This has been a fantastic week at the ReStore as we also received lots of barely used home decor items.

“We are thrilled with the support that we have received both from the donating public and of course our customers.”

The three-seater sofa, by Rowe Furniture, a US upholstery manufacturer, was sold inside 24 hours.

Laura Farge-Lowe, Island Trading’s managing director, said: “We are obviously so impressed by the goal of building the homeless shelter for families.

“As a mother myself – of a two-year-old and a four-year-old – it’s really meaningful for us.

“We are a family business. My mom started the business, I now run the business.

“It speaks to us because we are both mothers and we understand the need.”

She added that the sofa had a slight fault in one arm, but had only been picked up after close examination.

Ms Farge-Lowe said that although furniture ordered for the Reid Street was rarely damaged in transit, when it did happen a decision was made on how to deal with the item.

She said: “From an environmental perspective, it’s so important for us to be conscious of where things go in their life cycle.

“Sometimes it would just be easy for us to not make arrangements to find a home for something. It could be easier for us to use it ourselves or send it to the dump, but it’s a waste.

“It’s more meaningful if we can find a home for it where it can be used.”

Ms Farge-Lowe added: “It’s wonderful to be able to support a fellow retailer.

“She created something out of the Bluck’s space.

“She’s built something that I think most of us, especially women, can get behind.”

Ms Farge-Lowe said that it felt “so good” to be able to donate something in almost perfect condition to a good cause.

She added: “We are just happy that it can be used for something beneficial.”

Ms Cooper said earlier that the TLC for Families centre was a redevelopment of the former Pembroke Rest Home on Parson’s Road.

The building will be turned into a shelter for homeless families.

But she added that the plan was “to provide more than just shelter … to embrace families in a supportive, holistic, therapeutic and transformative community that enables them to grow, develop and ultimately sustain themselves when they transition into more permanent housing”.

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Published February 10, 2021 at 8:22 am (Updated February 10, 2021 at 8:22 am)

Digital nomads give charity a boost

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