With wellbeing the core philosophy of Whinney’s business, it was only natural they would throw support behind the charity Sober In The Country (SITC).
Tom and Sarah Whinney are the owners of the historic property Chatsworth House which sits on the Hopkins River in south-western Victoria. The 2400-hectare property, with its rolling hills, is ideal for prime lamb and cattle production.
But there’s much more to business than producing lambs and cattle at Chatsworth House, and donating a bale of wool to raise awareness is just one way Tom hopes to help create a culture of wellbeing in the bush.
SITC is a grassroots rural charity leading social impact and change across rural Australia through peer support, education, advocacy, and the #OK2SAYNO campaign and message. This message, which is being spread around the bush, attracted Tom’s attention when he was following SITC on social media.
“SITC had a campaign whereby you wrote the #OK2SAYNO slogan on a banner, so I decided I would stencil it onto a wool bale and post it on our social media,’’ he said.
“When we were trucking our wool out, I thought that bale looks odd, so I decided to market it separately and give it more promotion and donate the proceeds to SITC.’’
AWN wool technical manager and senior auctioneer Jeff Denny said buyers came out in force to compete for the bale and support the very worthwhile charity.
“I designed some inserts and flyers displaying the lot cataloged separately, and these went out with our catalog transmission the Friday before the auction,’’ he said.
“SITC had a campaign whereby you wrote the #OK2SAYNO slogan on a banner, so I decided I would stencil it onto a wool bale and post it on our social media,’’
“The wool type was a composite lamb around 28 micron, and with Chatsworth House being Responsible Wool Standard accredited, this helped their cause due to the premiums available for this accreditation on wool lots.
“Although this micron is not currently overly popular with the trade, it was more about awareness than money however, buyer interest was great, and we had all the buyers who would normally buy that type of wool participating in the bidding plus a few more.’’
The successful purchaser was Jim Michell from Sentdale, and while Jeff said it was not a type Jim would typically buy, he wanted to support the cause.
Tom said he was also motivated to create a culture within his team at Chatsworth House whereby people could feel comfortable saying no to a beer.
“We still enjoy a social beer together to finish off the week, so we’re not anti-alcohol, but if someone is trying to cut back or doesn’t feel like drinking, we want to make it #OK2SAYNO.’’