AFTER more than a year of turbulence, Wallan community group Love in Action finally has a place to settle.
The group has moved its headquarters twice in the past 15 months, first taking up residence at Wallan Future Hub in October 2019 before moving to a property at 60 Wellington Street in June last year.
The group now calls 84 Stanley Street home, and plans to stay put for a while.
“Bendigo Bank is paying our rent, and they have said we can probably have this place for about four years,” Wallan Love in Action founder Jeremy Scrivens said.
“That’s quite a long time. We’ve had three homes in the space of about 12 months, and now we’re looking forward to staying put for a while.”
Mr Scrivens said the new building would perfectly suit Love in Action’s operations.
“We’ve moved everything in and it’s actually bigger than where we were, so we’ve got more capacity,” he said.
“We’re very fortunate to have the place. We’re going to do it up a little bit and we’ll make it home. It will be a very good base.
“A team from Bendigo Bank, including directors, and a team from Love in Action – 25 of us all up – moved everything from one house to the other in one morning, which was great.
“The Bendigo Bank directors were on their hands and knees helping us move stuff and putting up shelving and things like that. It was a great team effort.”
Mr Scrivens said having an established base would help Love in Action deal with surging demand for support in the Wallan community driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s been an extraordinary few months. During COVID lockdown last year, we filled our bank house three times, and we are still three quarters full,” he said.
“Donations are coming in from 30 or 40 different businesses and schools right across Wallan and surrounds who support the cause.
“Just prior to Christmas when the Salvation Army started to broadcast messages saying they had an urgent need for supplies because of COVID, the bank house was full to overflowing, which says something about the way the community has stayed engaged.
“We’ve never seen the Wallan community give like it has in the past six months – it’s been amazing.
“In the first three years we probably looked after about 100 families a year. Last year during COVID we looked after more than 350 families.”
Mr Scrivens said support was continuing to flow in, with Coles supermarket in Wallan agreeing to support the group.
He said Love in Action was now preparing for an Easter charity raffle and encouraged members of the public to donate and get involved.
“One beautiful lady has donated $600 worth of beauty treatment at her beauty shop, another has just bought a brand-new $600 TV to be raffled,” he said.
“This money goes towards us buying really special presents for kids during Easter. Three years ago one of our team members came up with the idea of sponsoring a family for Easter. We had about five or six for the first three years, and this year we’ve already had 20.”
People can join the Love in Action Facebook group by visiting www.facebook.com/groups/loveinactionwallan or email firstname.lastname@example.org to donate or find more information.