Vin­nies shuts Kooy­ong shop

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS - Jes­sica War­riner

AL­MOST 40 years of his­tory has come to an end at Vin­nies Rivervale.

Af­ter decades on Kooy­ong Road, the char­ity shop shut its doors for the fi­nal time on Thurs­day.

Shop man­ager Pat Ma­her has been with the Vin­nies fam­ily for 37 years, start­ing out as a vol­un­teer when the Rivervale shop started up in the ’80s.

“They an­nounced up at the church that they were open­ing a store and asked if any­body would be in­ter­ested. I went along the first day,” Pat said.

“We opened where the ke­bab shop is now and we were there for sev­eral years. And then this be­came avail­able and we moved up here. They closed it down about nine years ago and did it all up again, and I’ve been here ever since: 37 years.”

Ms Ma­her said she orig­i­nally joined Vin­nies to help peo­ple in need and give back to her com­mu­nity.

“We treated it like a dropin cen­tre, if any­body wanted a chat. Some of the peo­ple around this area, the only time they get a chat is to come in here and come out the back and have a chat, maybe a cup of tea… Vin­nies was to help peo­ple,” she said.

Cus­tomer Jenny Wil­liams said Ms Ma­her al­ways man­aged to lift her spir­its.

“I come in all the time, and this lady is a beau­ti­ful lady; you walk in here and you get this re­ally great feel, and if you feel a bit down she al­ways cheers you up,” she said.

“They come out, and you have a cup of tea; there’s a whole com­mu­nity that are re­ally go­ing to miss this shop.”

Ms Ma­her has worked each day of her 37 years un­paid, re­fus­ing a vol­un­teer’s al­lowance.

The Lath­lain res­i­dent was awarded a Bel­mont Com­mu­nity Ser­vice Award in 2011, with her out­stand­ing ser­vice prompt­ing the coun­cil to take the un­usual step of giv­ing the award to some­one out of the area.

“She never turns any­one away. She’s al­ways tak­ing peo­ple in, giv­ing peo­ple things they needed, in­clud­ing things out of her own pocket. That’s the sort of woman we’re talk­ing about,” Bel­mont Deputy Mayor Robert Rossi said.

Vin­nies re­tail area man­ager Alex Ste­wart said while the shopfront has closed, there was still help avail­able.

“We have more of our mem­bers go­ing into peo­ple’s homes now, rather than com­ing to us,” she said.

“It’s an­other way of as­sess­ing what their sit­u­a­tion is and pick up things you don’t nec­es­sar­ily see when peo­ple just come and ask for help. So we do have lots of mem­bers through­out Bel­mont and Vic Park and Rivervale and they’ll keep go­ing.”

State re­tail op­er­a­tions man­ager Signe Balodis said there were op­por­tu­ni­ties for vol­un­teers to be re­lo­cated to a new shop if they chose.

Pic­ture: Jon Hew­son www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d470402

Mar­cia Whi­taker, Pat Ma­her, Brenda Smith, Lucy Tay­lor and Shar­maine Teamo.

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