Sisters are doin’ it for Ten Lives!

Brigitta and Sylvia ready for customers at our North Hobart Op Shop.

ARTICLE BY: Joel Diprose, Ten Lives

Being part of the Ten Lives team feels like being part of one big family, but for volunteers Sylvia and Brigitta – who are sisters – the family feeling is a bit more real!

Sylvia originally started volunteering as an animal attendant at the Centre in 2011. “I got one of my cats from the old South Hobart Cat Centre and when he died in June 2011, its going to sound strange, but because he was such a gift to me, because of the years I had him, I wanted to thank the Centre for giving him to me and that’s why I started volunteering, to say thank you for this precious cat.” Sylvia recalls, “I loved it from when I started in 2011.” Of course there is never a shortage of things to be done at the shelter. “Doing the litter, feeding them, cleaning the pens, washing up, hanging washing on the line, sweeping, mopping, it’s a very busy time!”

With such a love of cats the obvious next step for Sylvia was to become a foster carer!

“I started fostering because I heard of a mother cat and kittens that got dumped in Glenorchy and it broke my heart. I thought what more can I really do to help? I didn’t know how I was going to go fostering a cat but I decided to just say ‘yes’ and I found it was very rewarding.”

Brigitta is a more recent addition to the team, being recruited by her sister last year during the height of the pandemic.

“Sylvia said to me “Jon has sent an email to say we need people to volunteer at the Margate Op Shop, would you like to do it with me?”” Brigitta recalled, “And I said I would absolutely love it! Because we’ve always gone to op shops, since our children were little, we love op shops. And I just want to help a worthy cause, meet people – I love talking to people and just interacting with people.”

Their op shop days continued post COVID, becoming part of the team at our North Hobart Op Shop.

“We just love looking forward to our op shop shifts when we come here, it’s a lovely experience, I love it!” Sylvia said. “We have got regulars, it’s just so nice to talk to them and they can come and talk to us, we can listen and laugh and joke and so on.”

“Giving them a good experience so they will come back, being helpful, sympathetic, whatever they need on the day so they think “yes I’ll go back to that shop.”” Brigitta added, “We both enjoy doing something for good, to raise money for the Cat Centre and we both enjoy it.”

“I was surprised how, I wanted to give, I’m surprised how passionate I am – I just adore cats so its just a passion for me to help as much as I can.”

“We have had a number of volunteers who are now volunteering both at the Centre and at our Op Shops.” Volunteer Coordinator Jonathan Harvey said, “Volunteering at the Op Shops is a bit different from volunteering within the shelter environment and people are quite surprised at how much they enjoy it!”

“It’s an enjoyable experience – you will love it. You’re doing something so worthwhile, raising money for the Cat Centre to continue.” Brigitta said, Sylvia adding “Yes, it’s just you’re doing something that’s so wonderful.”

Merchandising items in the shop.

Sorting donations in the warehouse.

You can find out more about becoming a volunteer with Ten Lives including positions we’re currently recruiting for or about our foster care program at