Skip to main content

Sitting in the heart of Ballina, the Salvage Shed is more than your typical tip shop; it’s a place that fosters belonging and empowerment. It’s operated in partnership with Ballina Shire Council and at the helm is our team of supported employees who are working to gain valuable workplace skills and experience.

At this moment, the Salvage Shed team is gearing up to compete in the iconic Bangalow Billycart Derby scheduled for Sunday, 19 May. This event draws participants from all over Northern NSW, of all ages, from adults to children racing alongside their parents or caregivers.

The Salvage Shed has been part of the derby in previous years – Tim and Erin are attending the Billycart race for a second year. Both years they have participated as much valued support crew or better known as ‘pit crew’.

Tim and Erin have joined other members of the Salvage Shed team Brad and Luke to turn their billy cart ideas into reality. This year’s design is different than before, and the team isn’t just building one billy cart, but two! While one is geared towards serious racing, the other has more of a creative design to showcase and promote the Salvage Shed. Thanks to all the team members for assisting with billy cart construction included Gary, Gabe, Gayle, Michael, Dan, Dain and Ben.

What sparked the design idea? 

Thanks to some great brainstorming sessions in the workshop, Brad, Luke, Erin and Tim worked together, gaining inspiration from one another to build what hopes to be a winning billy cart design.

Tim says, “There’s no wrong way (to build a billy cart), as long as it has a body, wheels and something to steer it with”.

They were lucky to stumble upon an old billy cart frame (complete with racing stripes) in the Salvage Shed yard, along with some pine wood for the build. They have also used wheelchair wheels and bike brakes to make it go faster and steer it in the right direction.

To promote the use of recycled, sustainable materials, the team is getting extremely creative, using teddy bears, puzzle pieces, Lego® and other reused treasures to create a one-of-a-kind look for their carts. They’ve even organised customised stickers to put on the carts to show off the Salvage Shed name!

Of course, safety is a priority for the billy cart team, so they are making sure everyone has helmets, pads and closed-in shoes; and a flashing light on top of the cart for good measure.

Celebrating the joy of teamwork

Working on this project has been incredibly rewarding for the supported employees at the Salvage Shed, as they take advantage of the opportunity to learn new skills and work together to design the carts. Although it has been a slight juggle, balancing their work schedules with cart construction, it has been remarkable to see how they have grown.

Some team members, who previously had no experience with tools such as grinders, have now gained experience under the guidance of other team leaders, fostering a culture of continuous learning and skill development.

Erin, who is enjoying the creative side of this project, is hoping the carts will provide the perfect opportunity to collaborate and promote the Salvage Shed and its offerings. “I like how everyone has been sharing their ideas and talking with one another to get feedback and work as a team”, she said.

All the employees are eager to use this opportunity to promote the Salvage Shed and let people know about their workplace. They want to get the Salvage Shed name out to the community and show that things can be used even after they’ve been thrown away – there are no limitations, anything can be recycled.

Momentum Collective’s supported employment opportunities

The Salvage Shed in Ballina embodies Momentum Collectives’ goal to create inclusive opportunities and positive outcomes with individuals living with a disability. By providing supported employment opportunities, Momentum Collective creates a platform where individuals can find meaningful work and develop new skills.

Through initiatives like the Salvage Shed, participants earn competitive wages, and gain valuable experience in the workforce. This social enterprise model supports individuals with disabilities, those recovering from mental health conditions and fosters community engagement and inclusivity.