Love a bargain? You’ll want to visit this Ipswich thrift shop with a difference

Kea-Lee and Madisen with some of the clothes on sale at Treasure Zone.

Students at Ipswich Special School are dipping their toes into the world of business and learning practical life skills along the way.

Six students, with the help of teacher Deanne Smith and teacher aide Carol Brackin, have opened a thrift shop called Treasure Zone.

It is on school grounds and open to the public each Monday during school terms from 10am to noon.

Ms Smith said it had energised the students, but more customers were needed.

“I was looking for projects that our senior students could do as an elective, and in looking around saw that Mt Ommaney Special School had a thrift shop,” Ms Smith said.

“I loved the idea, so decided to set one up here. It’s been great, the students do everything from sorting items for sale, organising the store and using the cash register to serving customers.

“It is helping them give back to the community, building their confidence and life skills.

“It’s also about letting the community know that these students can contribute, and in fact they have got a lot to offer.

“They came up with the name and we had some shirts made up for the students that say Treasure Zone, they feel very proud to be a part of it.”

Items on sale at Treasure Zone were donated by supporters, are all good quality and very affordable, with most under $5.

There are clothes, shoes, jewellery, toys, books and homewares on sale, as well as a coffee van. The school’s catering team also provides baked goods for sale.

Money from sales is put back into the store or school, a cycle Ms Smith said was helping the students understand the importance of giving back.

Chantelle works the cash register at Treasure Zone.

Emily enjoys arranging stock at Treasure Zone.

“Each week we discuss what we need to do with the store and how we will use any profit made,” she said.

“So one of the goals is to get a sign made up to put out on the kerb to advertise the store, so we are working toward that at the moment.”

Two students involved in Treasure Zone are also completing Certificate 1 in Active Volunteering, with the project counting toward their course.

Year 11 student Emily said she enjoyed serving customers at Treasure Zone.

“It’s really like, woah, a happy feeling. I know that doesn’t make much sense but it is like that,” she said.

“I like helping the customers to carry stuff. I would say to people to come and buy more things so we can help them and welcome (them) to the shop.”

Her fellow students gained a similar enjoyment from the store, telling Ipswich First they liked interacting with customers, working the cash register and organising stock.

Teacher aide Carol Brackin encouraged the community to support the students.

“A lot of hard work has gone into getting it going and now we just need some more people to come and have a look,” she said.

“It would be great if local nursing homes could bring their buses by, the kids would just love it.”

When Ipswich First visited Treasure Zone earlier this week, a busload of customers was just finishing up and there was a noticeable buzz among the students.

“They’ve got some really good items in there. I really hope people come down and have a look,” Ms Brackin said.

Treasure Zone is at Ipswich Special School, with entry off Brisbane Road.

The Treasure Zone team: Kea-Lee, teacher Deanne Smith, Madisen, teacher aide Carol Brackin, Emily and Chantelle.

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