Imagine moving to an area and knowing absolutely no-one. You don’t even know where to find a decent plumber, let alone a good school to send your kids to. That’s the dilemma facing 90% new residents in Ku-ring-gai.
Savvy mumpreneur Rachel Wilson encountered this problem when she moved to the area from the eastern suburbs. She hooked up with Ku-ring-gai Council and now supplies Welcome Baskets to all newcomers across the area who register on the Council website.
Since it kicked off eight years ago, Rachel has handed out 3,500 of the baskets packed with local goodies and information.
“By giving people the baskets we’re putting them in touch with the huge range of services, trades, local group and places to go to in their area,” says Rachel.
“But it’s so much more than that. We get invited in for coffee and people sit down and tell us their stories – where they’ve come from, what’s happened to them. Sometimes we’re even agony aunts. And most of the tradies I have used personally or clients have recommended.”
The only one of its kind in Sydney, the business been such a success that Rachel is expanding into Hornsby this month.
Tucked into the basket are a gardening trowel, vouchers for local restaurants and food outlets, and other local businesses as well as local maps, council information and food goodies.
But the basket helped in ways unimaginable when Rachel delivered one to a South African family moving to Waitara.
“After moving in to the area, I noticed an advert for the Welcome Basket at the library and decided to register online,” says father of two Hendrik Kemp.
“It was such a pleasure to meet Rachel and to receive the hand-delivered basket. She definitely made us feel welcome. Not only did all the information, gifts and vouchers in the basket help in getting to know local service providers, but it was just welcoming having someone reach out to you when you’re still getting settled and don’t know the area and the people.”
During her visit one of the children mentioned she was nervous about starting at a new school. “Through a kind invite from Rachel to join a park outing, we even ended up having my kids meet some future classmates before starting at their new school.”