SECOND WEEK (part 1)

Cold and rainy outside.. But inside the Uniting Care Church Op-Shop and Bookshop on Dana Street called The Light Lounge and it’s a completely different feeling… I have heard it is the best op shop/bookshop in Ballarat – it probably is! Good tunes, someone playing a piano, someone homeless relaxes by the heater ..In the meantime I am volunteering today with three lovely volunteers and work on the till and in the back office sorting and pricing the donations.. It’s Friday.. We have many visitors today and the conversations are flowing. I just talked to one of the regular customers, who collects books. I don’t know if you know this but The Light Lounge op shop has a lovely collection of books and great relaxing area to just sit and read. You can also order a warm drink if you are homeless or on a low income.

I had a camera hanging on my arm  and he was curious where was my accent from and what I was doing. We talked for at least 20 minutes and I got an impression that he wanted to talk. He seemed surprised and almost caught off guard by my questions.. (I’m Polish as you know, our language is less formal than English which itself may seem more direct in conversations which is not true – it is the way we communicate in Polish and another example of a cultural and linguistic difference). He told me about his life, and that he does not like being cold and hungry too often. He also had an amazing sense of humour. It made me sad when I listened and when I then photographed the Uniting care logo and the LifeLine sticker in the window I felt proud I have the opportunity to meet disadvantaged people and work on this project in order to generate money for meals for the ones who need it most. 

The Light Lounge op shop funds the Breeze Way Meals Program for homeless and people in need. The program receives no government funding. It needs to raise $140,000+ to operate every year.
BreezeWay provides a substantial, hot nutritional two course midday meal every day of the year for people who are marginalised, homeless, living in insecure accommodation and / or have no cooking facilities. It operates from 10.30am to 1.30pm each day and services approximately 60 meals daily or over 1,700 meals per month.  Take-away meals are also provided which include sandwiches and fruit outside the lunchtime meal. The cafe style environment is also a place of shelter during the winter months.

A UnitingCare Ballarat Social Justice Op-Shop and Bookshop called The Light Lounge is situated in Wesley Hall, upstairs from Breezeway. The Light Lounge freely provides homeless people and low income families with clothes and support. A loyal group of 50 volunteers work in the Breezeway Program. They represent a diverse range of church, business and community groups.

Behind the counter you will always find someone helpful and inspiring. 

Under the Floorboards Uniting Care Art Project Ballarat Australia

Under the Floorboards

UnitingCare Ballarat begins a unique artistic project, Under the Floorboards, with the first of 12 artist residences commencing on Monday 30th July.  Under the Floorboards is a collaborative project in which renowned Western District artists will create works based on their experiences at one of the diverse programs provided by UnitingCare Ballarat. The project will culminate in a gala event with an art auction and performance of the works in October 2013 and the proceeds will provide funding for the services.  

The City of Ballarat Arts & Cultural Development is a project partner with UnitingCare Ballarat, extending opportunities for quality arts experiences to all members of the community and providing significant professional development opportunities to local & regional artists.

ABC Ballarat is the project media partner.

Media contact :  Susan Howell 03 5337 2770,  showell@ucare.org.au               

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