Your generous donation makes an impact across the state. A new Vinnies program is making a difference in the lives of women who, even in a small town, feel isolated and alone.

Producing and selling homemade chutney is how a group in Deniliquin is learning to live a fulfilled, healthy and independent lifestyle. 

Sally Wright, Group Coordinator/Facilitator for Vinnies Services Deniliquin, established a supported group Stronger Together for people she assists to give them resources and training to build their self-esteem and resilience.

“We regularly see people who are experiencing emotional crises, mental health issues and financial hardship and who lack the skills and resilience to rebuild their lives,” says Sally.

Sally works closely with case managers and external agencies to design tailored programs to support these people.

Stronger Together aims to develop participants’ life skills — like goal setting, communication and problem-solving — so that, working together, they can set up a social enterprise. After learning how to develop a business plan, the group decided to focus on producing and selling food.

Sally collaborated with Intereach, the Salvation Army Moneycare agency, VisAttak — a local graphic design company, and the Naponda community store. 

Connie Ciccaldo, from Naponda, taught them to make tomato and chilli chutney, with the aim of producing it in bulk. For the cooking demonstration, IGA in Deniliquin donated the ingredients.

The chutney was delicious and so began their venture — Kolety Delights. Kolety is the Koori name for Deniliquin’s Edward River. The group now runs every aspect of Kolety Delights.

They trialled their chutney at a Biggest Morning Tea in May. It was a sell-out. They officially launched their produce at the Naponda Farmers Market in July and sold all their stock — 60 jars.

For the next market they will make double the quantity and are looking for kitchen premises.

Lynnene and Leslee are two members of Stronger Together. Their lives have changed significantly.

Leslee moved to Deniliquin to help her daughter with the grandchildren. “But I felt isolated and had no life. Now I’m getting out and doing productive things,” says Leslee.

“Lynnene and I are really close and are best of friends. We would never have crossed paths if it hadn’t been for this program and Vinnies.”

Lynnene left work to have an operation but found it hard to return to work and resume her former life. Viv King, Team Leader at Vinnies, talked her into joining the group. 

“It’s so good to be active, social and have a purpose — I’m a good role model for my daughter. It’s made me feel more worthwhile,” she says.

Leslee believes they couldn’t have done it without Sally. “She’s done all the running around. She’s local and knows the local people and how to do things. She found out about the market and the gap in the market for home-made produce.”

Their goal is to sell online. Using Sally’s connections with the high school they are hoping the students can build their website.

“They are preparing new recipes for the next market: Granny Smith apple and ginger cordial and beetroot relish scented with orange and rosemary. I have great expectations for Kolety Delights,” beamed Sally.

Your financial contribution makes sure that isolated people can re-engage with their community and become more resilient.

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