Posts

FICE perfect fit for volunteer Trisha

Volunteering at Cire’s First Impressions Clothing Exchange at Yarra Junction has proven to be a perfect fit for Trisha Rowe.
It has given her an unexpected and most welcome new “lease of life” – so much so that she is keen to share her experience and encourage others to consider using their spare time to contribute to their community.

People like Trisha make it possible for Cire Services to reach out to those who need assistance throughout the Yarra Ranges and beyond. They contribute thousands of volunteer hours each year to support Cire programs and services, particularly FICE at Yarra Junction and Mooroolbark and Cire Community Hubs at Yarra Junction and Chirnside Park.
In the following interview, Trisha from Yarra Junction shares her FICE journey to date.

How did you first become involved with Cire and (FICE) First Impressions clothing exchange?
After retiring, I gradually lost motivation; I knew it would be too late if I didn’t do something soon. I needed to do something for myself; my general health and mental health were starting to suffer. I saw the volunteer board out the front of Cire, so I popped into the hub and was greeted by the bubbly and very friendly Nicole; she told me all about FICE. I also wanted to brush up on my knowledge of computers and technology. I later met Renee, and before long, I was on my way.
What makes this program special?

When I first walked in the door, Nicole, the Yarra Junction Community Hub customer service officer, told me about Cire and FICE. I was hesitant and thought I would come back later, but thought – no, I’m going to do this! Everybody I have met through the hub and FICE has given me something, just talking to people, interacting and laughing; when I walk out of FICE and the hub, I feel really good.

How has the program supported you with your personal goals?
I have some health issues, and some days I struggle to get out of bed and the house, but volunteering at FICE, attending tech hub classes and now becoming a part of the craft group, I now have a purpose. This has allowed me to challenge and push myself within my own personal boundaries and feel supported and encouraged along the way.

How important was this additional support in your success?
Everyone at FICE and Yarra Junction Community Hub has been so supportive. Nicole is just this bubbly warm person who genuinely cares. Raymond is gorgeous, and Cohen in Tech Hub is so helpful too. The hugs you get if you’re not feeling the best, well, they are the best. The team at Cire really listen and value your opinion. I’m taken for who and what I am.

Any last words on the FICE program?
Just do it; you’ve got nothing to lose. I’ve gained more myself personally from coming here weekly. The ladies that come here to shop, we talk and laugh. It’s the best thing as everyone is so lovely and friendly. FICE and Cire fill the void that was there.

Click here to learn more about volunteering at FICE.

FICE launched at Yarra Junction

Cire’s First Impressions Clothing Exchange (FICE) has opened its doors at Yarra Junction to support local women, and ultimately their families and communities.

Located at Cire’s Community Hub, FICE aims to empower women to work towards brighter futures by helping them achieve their personal and employment goals.

FICE is a retail training space that offers much more than a traditional shop, by mentoring and preparing women for pathways such as personal development, study and employment, as well as a trusted support network.

YJ FICE also offers quality and affordable women’s clothing suitable for everyday wear, interviews, or more formal occasions.

Our team focuses on reconnecting women with the community, building pathways that are tailored to individual needs like future independence and goal setting, identifying transferable skills to new industries, interview preparation and job readiness, and empowerment and confidence building.

FICE is thrilled to be supporting women in the outer reaches of the Yarra Valley and has already been generously welcomed and supported by the local community with donations being dropped off before we even opened our doors. There has been a lot of interest with people stopping by to peer through our window at our gorgeous range of clothing and accessories. Comments like, “I can’t believe how many nice things you have.”, “Beautiful quality.“, and “Are these really second hand?” is a testament to the wonderful items so generously donated by the community.

Integral to FICE opening its doors was a wonderful and very generous donation of shop fittings, mannequins, clothing and accessories from former shop owner Penny Gravias from Dekoda boutique in Eltham. After many successful years in retail Penny decided it was time to close the doors of her women’s clothing boutique. Fortunately, she had heard about FICE through Cire’s Chief Executive Officer, Gus Seremetis, and kindly offered to help fit out our new space. FICE coordinator Renee Cooke met Penny at her shop and loaded up the items that she no longer needed but didn’t want to end up in land-fill. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect and aligns perfectly with FICE’s ethos of recycling fashion and sustainability.

The FICE space at Yarra Junction has truly come alive as an inviting place to shop, browse, pick up a bargain, have a friendly chat with staff and volunteers and even learn more about the Community Hub and other Cire services throughout the region. A sincere thank you to Penny and her act of generosity in helping make the dream of a YJ FICE become a reality.

YJ FICE is open Monday to Friday from 9 to 5pm, simply enter through the pink door.

Work experience and volunteer opportunities are now available at both FICE locations at Yarra Junction and Mooroolbark

Donations of good quality women’s clothing are accepted at FICE Yarra Junction, and Mooroolbark, Chirnside Park Community Hub and Cire’s Lilydale office. Please leave donations during office hours so Cire can thank you personally.

Finds us:

@firstimpresssionsclothingexchange on Facebook

@firstimpressionsclothes on Instagram

Email: firstimpressions@cire.or.au