The little shop with a big heart

Located at the entrance to Sydney/Sydney Eye Hospital, The Little Shop is a one-of-a-kind, volunteer-run shop generating much-needed hospital equipment through the sales of hand-knitted baby clothes and gifts.

Founded by a volunteer committee called the Friends of Sydney Hospital (FOSH), The Little Shop has been operating since 1964.

Long-term FOSH member, Mrs Fay Skuthorpe coordinates a group of volunteers who create handmade gifts for the shop. Almost every item in the shop is handmade, down to the cards!

The knitters sell everything from baby garments and scarves to toys, hand towels and coat hangers. There is even a history book for sale titled ‘Australia’s First Hospital’, written by volunteer, Mrs Caroline Wilkinson OAM.

Raising between $60-100K a year, the shop attracts all kinds of visitors, from tourists and passersby to businesspeople, thanks to its prominent location on Macquarie Street.

Fay, who received a Medal of the Order of Australia at 88 years old, has been volunteering with FOSH for 37 years! And she’s not stopping anytime soon. Fay plans to re-introduce a social knitting circle, where ladies from The Little Shop will knit together at the hospital, with the opportunity for staff to drop in.

“The volunteers are a friendly, happy team of ladies, which makes volunteering in The Little Shop so enjoyable. I think we are one of the only places left in Sydney where you can purchase hand knitted children’s garments,” said Fay.

The FOSH are also planning to reboot their trolley service, selling affordable tea, coffee, cakes, magazines and hygiene products. The trolley will reopen in a newly renovated space at the entrance to the Clinical Services Building, and will travel around to the wards and ED.

All funds raised go towards medical equipment, for which the staff are incredibly grateful for.

The Little Shop volunteers