When Brett Turnbull found himself on Newstart, he threw himself into volunteer work at Melton’s Much More Op Shop. His enthusiasm was recognised and appreciated, so when the role of assistant manager came up, Brett applied and was successful. This is a great example of how Much More Op Shop is, well, much more.
The not-for-profit op shop, a Melton Uniting Church enterprise, has two locations, one in High Street. The other in Melton South has been in the area for more than 40 years, but is now housed in Station Square, taking up the ground floor of the double-storey building while Headspace (Odyssey House) occupies the top floor. It has a café serving barista-made coffee, along with tea and bikkies, with volunteer baristas always welcome to join the team. The High Street outlet will soon follow suit.
Manager Anne Blacker has two assistants, Angela Kendrick and Brett, and a team of up to 50 community volunteers.
She enthusiastically describes the “magic” of Much More Op Shop.
“We believe we have a responsibility to add value to people’s lives, encouraging them to find their feet and feel fulfilled in what they do,” she says. “Our team is so diverse and makes for stimulating interaction between all who work here.
“Our volunteers and those who come on board through Work for the Dole and Newstart (we are a job provider) are the hands and feet of our shops.
“It’s amazing to see the level of ownership and pride they express in being part of a community-based outreach that adds value to people’s lives.
“They are always delighted when their hard work materialises in generosity to people in the community who are down on their luck.
“Another part of the magic is our support of local, national and overseas organisations. Our volunteers are invited to participate in decisions about which organisation should be supported. And support for locals in genuine need is willingly provided.”
A host of items, among those that are unique, curious or collectible, are for sale – including used furniture, which is half price for the month of August. Shelves and racks are stocked with jewellery, handbags, shoes, clothing, DVDs and bric-a-brac – a bargain hunt in the making.
“We are grateful to those who donate goods to the shop and of course, always welcome good, clean donations during shop hours,” Anne says.
The op shops and Melton Uniting Church are mutually supportive in their quest to keep wide-ranging community service at the forefront, with the shops contributing to a children and families worker, as well as a creative ministries worker at the church.
Much More Op Shop, Station Square, Melton South. Opens 9am-4pm Monday-Saturday. Inquiries: 9747 6033.
4/86 High Street, Melton. Opens 10am-4pm Monday-Saturday. Inquiries: 0407 295 199.