Peter Wheeler - Westfield Local Heroes 2020

Story

Peter Wheeler - Westfield Local Heroes 2020

Op shop with a difference

Uniting Barwon
Dynamic. Empathic. Inclusive.

Volunteer Peter Wheeler has created an op shop that offers much more than second-hand clothes and household goods.

With his vision and drive, Uniting Barwon’s new Norlane Op Shop is also a safe place for disaffected locals to socialise and seek help.

There are comfy sofas where mums can enjoy a cuppa while their children play in the kids’ corner, where they host community engagement events, including community movie nights.

A community garden has been established to provide some of the food used to prepare light lunches for those in need.

Thanks to Peter’s dynamic and inclusive approach, there has been a surge in volunteers and shoppers as word of mouth spreads.

“We have community members who, by volunteering and participating, have gained an improved level of self-worth,” Peter says.

Peter is driving further initiatives before COVID-19 restrictions, including a community arts program and literacy and numeracy programs.

He is proud that the op shop has saved several tons of goods from ending up in landfill each month while helping those in need.

“Any profit made from the shop goes to our Emergency Relief Program for those in greatest need in our community.”

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. Uniting Barwon will fund initiatives including a shopfront revamp, a storage shed and laptops for locals to do job searches.

For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here

Photo courtesy of: Hadeel Al Badran, @hs.stories.photography

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