WALLAN community group Love in Action has been given a new home thanks to the Wallan branch of Bendigo Bank.
After spending the past eight months at Wallan Future Hub, the group moved into a new premise at Wellington Street last weekend.
Once its new building on High Street was built, the bank began to look for a group that had outgrown its current home to move into the refurbished house on Wellington Street.
Within one hour of deciding to move out, of Wallan Future Hub, Love in Action received a call from the bank offering them the new site rent-free.
Wallan, Kilmore and Broadford Community Bank community engagement manager Kate Boulton estimated the agreement would save Love in Action $24,000 a year in rent and ongoing costs.
“It’s a huge donation and a huge saving for Love in Action to find a place they don’t have to pay rent for,” she said.
“We haven’t even seen the beginning of the fallout [from the pandemic].
“I think it’s going to be months before we even find out what support the community needs and maybe this is just the beginning of something that does help the community out of this pandemic.”
Love in Action founder Jeremy Scrivens said the new site would help the group store donations to be shared with vulnerable members of the community as well as host classes, which have been operating online through the pandemic.
“People are genuinely wanting to help each other and what the house means is we have extra space,” he said.
“We can invite members of the community to come to the building and receive donations and help take those out.
“We’re also going to be looking at opportunities to have activities, social events and community events to help people like sewing classes, cooking classes or budgeting classes. Whatever members of the community need.”
Mr Scrivens said being given the new site was a ‘tremendous’ gift to the community.
“It says something about the bank’s core values. It’s what differentiates the bank from a corporate bank, they’re part of the community themselves,” he said.
“There are also some lovely parts of the building where people can come together and have coffee and chill out. From that, they will explore their own ways of how they want to use that facility.”