A shortage of volunteers at a local community centre is making it increasingly difficult to meet the demands of residents who require essential support service.
Maroochy Neighbourhood Centre (MNC) is desperately looking for volunteers to run its op shop.
Derek Hooper from MNC says it has been difficult to find volunteers for the op shop, which is still trying to get off the ground since it opened in March last year.
“We got lots of support at the centre, but now we need the ancillary support in the op shop, which will actually help run the OneRoof program,” Mr Hooper says.
“Covid got the momentum of the op shop off kilter.
“We were just starting to get it off the ground and it fell flat on its face with the first lockdown and the subsequent ones since, and the restrictions.”
Mr Hooper says the op shop is the main funding channel of OneRoof, which MNC runs at the centre every Tuesday and Thursday evening.
“[The project supports] the needs of the homeless and marginalised in the community, including international students cut out of the casual work market, people who have lost jobs because of COVID-19 and those struggling to put food on the table because of intolerable rises in rental costs.
“To be able to run this project we fundraise and receive a small grant from Unitywater to partially pay a co-ordinator that runs the program on a Tuesday and Thursday evening.”
The OneRoof hub provides cooked meals, fresh produce and clothing as well as services including Orange Sky Laundry, OzHarvest, Salvation Army finance and budgeting support, haircuts, Sunny Street medical services, family support services, counselling, and alcohol, drug and mental health support.
Currently open Tuesdays and Thursdays, Mr Hooper says with more volunteers, the op shop can expand to Wednesdays and inject around $450 per week to support OneRoof, which receives no government funding.
Twenty-two thousand people walk through the doors of the busy centre each year, including staff, volunteers and those seeking help. There is currently a team of 80 volunteers working across a variety of programs from the commercial kitchen to urban farm, family support and admin roles.
Op shop volunteers need to be available between 10am and 2pm, with no prior experience necessary.
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