New Home: Sarah Britten and Mel Morris provide help for the needy.After a short stay in the wilderness, Ballarat’s Pop-Up Shop has a new home.
It’s been given a two-yearhome rent-free, courtesy of a Samaritan act by the proprietors of Advanced Self-Storage in Wendouree.
Sarah Britten and Mel Morris say they were approached by co-owner Jenine Harris after she read an article in The Courier about their plight.
It comes just in time for the pair, who established the shop two years ago after seeing a similar enterprise in Johannesburg.
Without the offer, the shop would have had to close.
“The Pop-Up Shop is essentially a big op shop,” says Sarah Britten
“All the goods are donated by the Ballarat community and then we hand them out to people that are homeless or anyone in need. There are no prerequisites to‘in need’. If you need some new clothesor some food or toiletries to get you through a week orso you’re welcome through our doors.
“We started with a storage unit at theTrades Hall building, then we were lucky enough to get a double garage out at Sebas(topol)through Berry Street. We had that for about 12 months and then Berry Street needed it backfor a refuge centre.”
The initial Pop-Up Shop catered to about 100 to 150 people.
It now caters toaround 500, as well as providing care packages to people at other times.
Sarah and Mel say their clientele ranges across the society of Ballarat, from younger people who may in trouble at home, people with drug or mental health issues, the homeless, unemployed and the elderly.
“Unless we get some kind of proper government or council funding behind us, we can’t be anything more than a band-aid measure,” says Sarah Britten.
“”We’re low-income earners ourselves. It can only go so far. We put beautiful trees in Ballarat, but there’s no new public housing.”
As part of her university studies, Mel Morris has looked at dependency.
“Until people are ready to ask for actual help, to go forward and change that cycle (of behaviour) themselves, we can only support them,” she says.
“You ask them what do you want, or what do you need, and they will say ‘stability’. A roof over their head, food in the cupboard for their kids.”
The next Pop-Up Shop is being held at the Trades Hall on Saturday December 3 and Sunday December 4.Doors open at 10.00 am both days and close 4.00 pm on Saturday and close at 2.00 pm on Sunday.
Volunteers to help move goods can contact Sarah Britten on0468 945 804.
Volunteers are neededonMonday 28 November 2016from 9.00 am till about 1.00 pm to help move all of their stock from the storage units to the Ballarat Trades Hall.
They need volunteers to help set up the Pop-Up Shop and help take donations from Wednesday 30 November to Friday 2 December 2016 from 10.00 am until 4.00 pm.
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