Sinead Lynch with her Coles little collectibles.
Sinead Lynch with her Coles little collectibles. Rainee Shepperson

Collecting 'minis' for a good cause

SINEAD Lynch is using the whirlwind of publicity surrounding the Coles Little Shop collectibles for a good cause.

The Mackay mum has set a goal of raising $10,000 by the end of the year for Bravehearts, an Australian charity dedicated to providing advice and support to those affected by child sexual assault.

After hearing about the demand for the Coles collectable sets, Ms Lynch decided to jump on the bandwagon and use the mini supermarket items to help with her fundraising campaign.

"I came across how much the items were selling for on eBay," she said.

"I realised it would be a perfect way to raise money so I've got around 20 people collecting them for me, then I put them all in the folder, and sell them for around $150 on eBay.

"All of the profits then go straight back into the fundraiser."

Despite the mini Nutella and mini Oak milk being near impossible to find, Ms Lynch said having so many people collecting for her made the challenge a little easier.

"With the Nutella, you've got to be prepared to trade a little bit more," she said.

"There was actually a lady on Facebook the other day who was selling one for $50."

Getting her hands on the mini folders that are used to display the collectibles is also a near impossible feat for Ms Lynch.

"It's absolutely insane. I tried calling every Mackay store, the Emerald store and the Moranbah store and I've even got my family in Melbourne looking for the folders and they've all sold out Australia-wide," she said.

"I'm trying to get my hands on the cases but they've gone from $4 on eBay to now $70."

Ms Lynch has been working tirelessly to reach her fundraising goal for months and has come up with several different campaigning strategies. A superhero day at Timezone, complete with games and face painting, was a huge success, as was a Krispy Kremes doughnut drive.

Hearing about the local statistics regarding child sexual assault is what inspired Ms Lynch to take action and do what she could to help with the cause.

According to data compiled by the Queensland Police Service, in 2016-17 there was 327 female and 93 male victims of sexual assault (rape, attempted rape and other sexual offences) aged 0-14 in the Central region. The Central region covers the Police districts of Capricornia, Mackay, Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay Burnett.

In the Mackay District, there were 179 sexual offences between August 2017 and July 2018 and of these, 74 were rape and attempted rape and 105 were other sexual offences.

"I saw how bad the statistics were, particularly in the Mackay area," Ms Lynch said.

"It's something that a lot of people don't really like to talk about and you hear about the way that crimes are dealt with in the courts and they're not really dealt with according to public expectations.

"Bravehearts is very much about advocating for longer sentences for paedophiles and helping victims with counselling and education programs."

"I hear so many people complain about the justice system but at the end of the day you can sit there and complain about it or you can do something to help.

"I choose to be one of those people that try and actually do something rather than just say something."

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