The timer is ticking for people looking for a one-of-a-kind addition to their backyard setup.
SIRCH Community Services is running an online auction until 12:30 p.m. on March 24, taking bids on a custom-built bunkie constructed by participants of the organization’s basics of carpentry employment training program.
Valued at approximately $8,000, the bunkie measures eight feet by 13 feet and features a seven-foot-high ceiling. The structure boasts a large steel entry door and two high-quality Jeld Wen windows. Clad in painted board and designed batten-style with a shingled roof, the bunkie is unfinished inside but is fully-enclosed, with an insulated and sealed floor.
The top bid as of press time is $3,500.
Gena Robertson, SIRCH executive director, said money raised through the auction will be reinvested into future training programs. The organization has run three courses focusing on carpentry since January 2022, with 16 people graduating. Robertson noted many of the participants have been women.
“Only five per cent of trades workers in Canada are women… so this program is a big win for us because it’s opening doors for local women to try something they may not have been exposed to and opening the door for an in-demand career in a lucrative field,” Robertson said.
SIRCH training programs are offered year-round and provide participants with sought-after skills centred on teamwork, customer service, problem solving, and communication. Robertson noted that nearly 100 per cent of those who take part are successful in gaining employment following graduation.
But this auction is about more than just money, Robertson said.
“The bunkie auction doesn’t just support SIRCH programs financially, it is validation to the group of carpentry trainees who built it, showing them that their work is valued and the product they worked on is saleable,” Robertson said. “Sometimes lack of confidence is the biggest hurdle for people re-entering the workforce, especially if it’s in a different career path.”
The provincial grants SIRCH received to be able to offer the training programs for free is ending, Robertson noted, making fundraisers like this even more vital.
For the 2021/22 fiscal year, the organization was on the hook for raising around 77 per cent of its annual budget.
“Quite literally, we depend on the generosity of our community members, donors, and grantors to ensure three quarters of the programs and services we provide are able to be offered,” Robertson said.
To bid, visit nonprofitbidding.org.