Charity expands while flying the flag for those in need

PAYING IT FORWARD: Pay it Forward founding director Karlie Irwin was presented with replacement flags by Member for Orange Phil Donato on Tuesday. Photo: SUPPLIED
PAYING IT FORWARD: Pay it Forward founding director Karlie Irwin was presented with replacement flags by Member for Orange Phil Donato on Tuesday. Photo: SUPPLIED

Onwards and upwards for Pay It Forward Community Shed

Community shed project pays off: 15 Orange households helped each week

Pay It Forward Community Shed volunteers remain positive

GOOD GUY: Woman of the Year Karlie Irwin works tirelessly for charity

Ten families eagerly waiting for crisis centre to open

Community Shed aims to ease struggle: group's bid to help out in a crisis

A year after an Orange based charity expanded and opened its doors at its current location, the not-for-profit group is going from strength to strength while preparing for its next venture.

Pay It Forward founding director Karlie Irwin started the not-for-profit organisation in her garage in November 2015, but the one woman operation steadily grew with the charity shop and warehouse opening at Glenroi Avenue on April 18 last year.

One year on, it is continuing to grow and currently has 25 workers made up of volunteers as well as eight paid staff from the disability and transition to work sectors, who have helped 4000 people and families in the region.

Mrs Irwin said by the end of next month, the not-for-profit group also hopes to open crisis support accommodation to help people in short-term need such as those who are homeless or escaping domestic violence.

“We are self funded, we don’t have any government support for the services we provide,” Mrs Irwin said.

“The community program was originally started in my garage at home from November 2015, it was just a community support program.

“We outgrew it once people started to learn about Pay It Forward, it started to grow really rapidly, we are now a registered charity and not for profit organisation.”

Mrs Irwin said she started the organisation to fill the gaps in practical community service delivery including giving or selling items at low prices to people in financial need.

It also provides lawn mowers and whipper snippers so people can maintain yards and avoid eviction from public housing properties.

In February, Mrs Irwin was named Orange Local Woman of the Year for 2017 for her work with Pay It Forward, which was influenced by her personal experiences with domestic violence and 20 years of working in community services.

But it has not all been plain sailing with security upgrades introduced following the theft of whipper snippers late last year and flags a few weeks ago.

Coinciding with the organisation’s first anniversary in its current premises on Tuesday, Member for Orange Phil Donato presented Mrs Irwin with an Australian and an Aboriginal flag to replace those that were stolen.