By Jessica Micallef
Macedon Ranges’ locals wishing to lend a helping hand during the COVID-19 pandemic are being encouraged to turn their attention to op shops.
As state restrictions slowly ease, op shop managers across central Victoria are planning the reopening of their stores.
However, according to health service Cobaw Community Health, many op shop volunteers are considered “vulnerable” because of their age or existing health conditions, resulting in a shortage of volunteers.
Cobaw Community Health’s Volunteer Central Vic and Central Victoria Primary Care Partnership have joined forces to help local op shops reopen by finding new volunteers who are keen to support their communities.
Carolyn Neilson of Central Victoria Primary Care Partnership said ensuring volunteers are in good health and not putting themselves at risk while volunteering was crucial.
“When lockdown began in mid-March, there were many people wanting to help in some way,” she said.
“Unfortunately there were very few volunteer roles available but now, if you have a few hours to spare each week, your local op shop now needs you.”
Volunteer Central Vic co-ordinator Lisa Richards said op shops, like other local businesses, needed the support of the community now more than ever.
“Op shops play a central role in strengthening community resilience,” she said.
“So if you can help out, please get in contact with Cobaw’s Volunteer Central Vic.”
Op shop managers and volunteers are encouraging people to ring ahead to check about opening hours and whether shops are accepting donations.
For inquiries about volunteering, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0419 362 374.