The INDIRA Initiative is a charity shop with a difference. Of course it has all the usual bargains but the community spirit and the pooling of resources it engenders is what makes it stand out in the burgeoning charity shop industry.
The driving force behind the entirely nonprofit initiative is Suzanne Roche. It is her passion for contribution, her yearning to make a difference in people’s lives, that makes downstairs at 72 O’Connell Street a must visit for all.
Located below Remax Auctioneers, Indira Initiative, has over 30 volunteers offering services as diverse as furniture restoration to grinds for students.
“In April of 2012, I came up with the idea because of things being so hard financially for families. My most expensive times of the year were Christmas and back to school time in September. I thought how could I bridge the gap and help myself and others. So I came up with the idea of recycling school books and uniforms,” said Suzanne.
Suzanne quickly discovered the demand was there for reasonably priced uniforms and second hand school books and was soon inundated with requests from as far afield as Cork and Dublin.
The business soon outgrew Suzanne’s back yard shed and her neighbour’s too and before she knew it, the time was right to rent a premises full time. After a karaoke night, some bag packing and bucket collections she had enough money to put a deposit on a premises - and downstairs at 72 O’Connell Street was born.
A basement O’Connell Street address comes with certain drawbacks - it is easy to walk by without realising what lies beneath. The shop contains everything from clothes, uniforms and books for college and school to toys, homeware, CDs DVDs and records.
Suzanne says the shop is open to donations of all kinds and one area she is looking to expand upon for the next school year is their homework club and grinds service.
The homework club currently runs Tuesday to Thursday from 4.30pm to 6pm. Grinds are available thanks to the volunteering efforts of the city’s large student contingent.
“I’m here since January and it’s been fantastic, Suzanne is excellent to all the volunteers and makes sure everyone feels part of everything - she’s one in a million,” says volunteer Siobhan Kinkead. Find out more at www.indirainitiative.ie.