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Sustaining rural communities A case study of the benefits of charity retail outlets in rural Tasmania


Auckland, SRJ and Woodroffe, JJ and King, AC and Whetton, SG, Sustaining rural communities - A case study of the benefits of charity retail outlets in rural Tasmania, 2016 SARRAH Conference, 27-29 October, 2016, Port Lincoln, South Australia (2016) [Conference Extract]

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Background: Charity retail outlets play an important role in rural communities as advocates for disadvantaged communities, outlets for second hand goods and service provision. Little is known about the broader social and economic value that the outlets bring to their host communities. The Centre for Rural Health in Tasmania was commissioned by the St Vincent De Paul Society (Vinnies) to undertake an assessment of its network of 34 retail outlets.

Methods: A mixed method approach generated data about Vinnies retail outlet customer base, their expectations and experiences as well as their shopping habits. Customers were encouraged by outlet staff to complete surveys made available to them at each of the 34 outlets. A series of focus groups with customers were held in regional centres across Tasmania.

Results: A total of 664 surveys were completed, representing an overall response rate of 50.3%. Approximately 75% of respondents were female aged between 45 64 years. Over 60% of respondents visited an outlet once a week or more. The most common reason given for visiting an outlet was shopping or looking to "grab a bargain." Opportunities for social interactions was highly valued particularly with customers accessing outlets in smaller rural communities.

Discussion: Vinnies retail outlets are overwhelming viewed as having broader social and economic benefits to their host communities. In particular, these benefits were evidenced in smaller communities where outlets were valued for providing a space for social interaction, making affordable goods to people on low incomes and building the capacity of communities.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:Charity retail outlets, Rural Community wellbeing
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Health and community services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Rural and remote area health
UTAS Author:Auckland, SRJ (Mr Stuart Auckland)
UTAS Author:Woodroffe, JJ (Dr Jessica Woodroffe)
UTAS Author:King, AC (Ms Alexandra King)
UTAS Author:Whetton, SG (Dr Sue Whetton)
ID Code:112972
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:UTAS Centre for Rural Health
Deposited On:2016-12-06
Last Modified:2016-12-09

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