Member feature written by Meg Baresic

Hidden amongst the streets of Virginia sits one of Brisbane’s largest charity op shops, Connected Inc. The warehouse-turned op-shop was established in 2011 after an excess of donations were collected for victims of the Brisbane floods, with the charity now wholeheartedly committed to helping those in need. When I first arrive, I am greeted warmly by Wayne, Connected Inc.’s Warehouse and Retail Manager. After a kind smile and friendly handshake, Wayne begins to fill me in on the workings of the warehouse.

As we walk through endless aisles of clothing, furniture and the aptly named bric-a-brac, Wayne explains that Connected Inc. helps support victims of domestic violence, homelessness, and the disadvantaged. “We support organisations such as Micah Projects, who will often call and say they have a woman and two children who are fleeing a domestic violence situation. We do our best to then supply appropriate furniture and clothing to them, free of charge”. Connected Inc. is not funded by the government and operates as a not-for-profit charity, therefore relying heavily on the kind and generous work of its volunteers.

Connected Inc. currently has up to 30 volunteers and a few paid staff, all working to ensure donations are sorted, priced, and displayed appropriately. The organisation also encourages people with disabilities to come and volunteer alongside their social workers. Bearing a shy smile, Wayne tells me of a young man who, when first beginning his volunteer journey at Connected Inc., was “an introverted young chap who had some family troubles”. Since volunteering, Wayne says the man’s demeanour has “changed completely, to the point where he won’t stop talking!”

Wayne keeps chatting and in turn alludes to the power of volunteering, primarily for its ability to help other people and also, often, ourselves. Though we would fairly assume that the main assistance being provided by virtue of the op-shops existence is help to those fleeing domestic violence or experiencing homelessness, Connected Inc. also serves as a spot for volunteers to meet and connect with like-minded people and cultivate a sense of belonging.

Above: Jo, Sylvia and Denise at Connected Inc.

Wayne introduced me to three women who currently volunteer with Connected Inc. Denise, Jo and Sylvia have all volunteered for varying lengths of time, though they have had similarly positive experiences. When I ask why they volunteer, they’re quick to tell me that “the people are lovely and it’s just so worthwhile. We come here, we have a laugh, and we get to connect with one another”. Jo mentions that some of the volunteers live alone and love coming in and feeling a sense of belonging. “The more volunteers we have, the greater the good that we can do”, Denise tells me.

Connected Inc. is always on the lookout for more volunteers, particularly given they have noticed an increase in the number of people visiting the warehouse during this cost-of-living crisis. After all, there is no greater feeling than a sense of being connected.

Please get in touch with Wayne Malmstone at Connected Inc. to volunteer by phoning (07) 3267 1629 or emailing  You can also view current volunteering opportunities at

About Meg

Meg Baresic is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws and Journalism at QUT. When she’s not drinking coffee or catching up with friends, Meg loves chatting to and learning from inspiring and interesting people.

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