Churchill Lifeline Shop turns 30

Churchill Lifeline Shop turns 30 in August 2018
When Val Rohde was Lifeline Director it was decided to start a series of Lifeline Op Shops to raise much needed funds to support the 24 hour Lifeline Telephone Counselling Service. Keith Enders, who was on the Lifeline Board at the time, asked Julie Berryman if she would be the co-ordinator.
Julie agreed and then began to recruit others to help. This included husband Trevor and other church friends, including Anne and David Lyne. They were happy to support this project as they believed that Lifeline is a great organisation. The shop was established in the old Exacto Factory above the old West Place shopping centre. For the mums it was not very convenient as they had to leave their prams downstairs and carry their babies up in arms. It was a time when op shop buying was not seen as cool, but as it was upstairs, out of people’s sight, shoppers felt more comfortable.
In those first months they had no drop off bin. After the sale of the initial supplies, they made only a few dollars a day. Keith was able to organise a bin, and after that things really picked up. They reported that they did whatever they could to raise some money. Jars of marmalade, lemons and vegetables such as pumpkins were all sold.
After securing a bin it became apparent that after taking all the goods up the stairs, they then had to take the unsuitable items back down the stairs.
It was decided that Nancy and Ray Sharman would clear the bins and take all the goods to their property at Hazelwood, where with several other volunteers, the goods would be sorted into groups, goods to be taken up to the shop, goods to be cut up for rags, and goods that were totally unsuitable for anything other than the tip.
The Sharmans would then drive around delivering rags to many Latrobe Valley businesses. This continued until the Lifeline Warehouse opened in Morwell in 2001.
In the beginning, Lifeline did not want the op shop to be called that. It was termed a House of Value, but officially only! The volunteers often took home things to wash, iron and/or repair, with David doing the tip runs. Each volunteer had to pay a $1 annually or $5 for lifetime membership of Lifeline. 

This covered them for insurance. Each volunteer had to sign in, recording their name date, day and signature. This original book is retained in the archives.
The first minutes recorded: ‘J Pepall chaired the meeting welcoming all present. He led those present in a look at the draft constitution which was approved with the addition of the word Churchill to the name - Lifeline Latrobe Valley Inc. House of Value, Churchill. Elected office bearers were Julie Berryman - Chairperson, Rhonda Gibson - Deputy Chairperson, Anne Lyne - Secretary, Eric Gibson -Treasurer.’
Cutting up unsaleable garments for rags was a lucrative way to obtain an income and had a ready sale at garages and Energy Brix.
The shop has been a place the university students have visited to pick up cooking utensils etc as they moved out of residences into a house in Churchill. It was an opportunity for homesick young people to receive a kind word.
The volunteers who have worked for the shop over the years have been dedicated to helping others, and the organisation, but have gained much satisfaction in doing so. Many have worked for lengthy periods of time. They have seen it as a time to get to know their community and its people. The shop became a social outing for some, especially if they were isolated.
The shop has been located in five different places. 1. Upstairs in the old West Place Shopping Centre. 2. On the southern side of the West Place Shopping Centre at ground level. 3. Where the Chinese Restaurant is now. 4. In the former Post Office site in West Place Shopping Centre. 5. In Hazelwood Village at its present site.
This establishment has been operating, helping the community, with dedicated people over these last 30 years. They have a proud record of organising the shop so that it is attractive and neat with good quality items on sale.
Our community has benefitted greatly from the work willingly supplied by the volunteers and Churchill Neighbourhood Centre. Congratulations on your 30 years of service.

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