Shepparton News

On a mission to lend a hand


- By Darren Linton

Notre Dame College students in Shepparton have reached out to local businesses as part of R U OK? Mission Day, showing their support, and asking how the school community can help them get through the pandemic. Usually the college would run a fair, with pastoral groups raising funds for charitable causes, but with students again doing home schooling due to COVID-19 restrictio­ns, they initiated ‘‘Hear the cry of the community’’, writing letters and producing social media posts to help local businesses.

Here’s how some of those businesses responded.

Rob Priestly – Gouge Dry Cleaning

It has been tricky at times and demand moves up and down. Right now, we have about 100 staff without work. This (retail dry cleaning) site is working with two people instead of 10.

Particular­ly for our food and beverage, and our hotel sector, anything you can do to help support those companies so that they can get through, they need to get through to give or take, November or Christmas time or whenever it is that they open up again.

The whole time that they’re sitting there without revenue, their costs keep going, some of the utilities, and the rates and all of these costs keep ticking over.

If you’re in a position to do it, obviously don’t do it if you can’t afford it, but if you’re in the position to support local businesses in this time, find a way to do that, shop local, support family companies that are doing it hard to get through this.

We’ve got three or four really tough months and then hopefully we’re back in better shape and we want as many of those family companies as we can to be standing up stronger on the other side.

Ingrid Thomas – Fryers St Food Store and Teller

Business has been really tough with the ongoing lockdowns, opening and closing, cancellati­on of events and heavy restrictio­ns on the volumes of diners that we can have in all of our venues.

We’ve really been hamstrung over the last 18 months with regular trade as well as the special events and celebratio­ns that we regularly enjoy with all of our local customers.

There’s so many local suppliers that local businesses use, so the trickle on to other local businesses is immense from all the small cafe´s and restaurant­s that are still able to open.

It’s really encouragin­g for us to still see people coming through the doors, it puts a smile on your face when somebody comes in, even if it’s just for a coffee and to say hello. It really warms our hearts and keeps us motivated for the other side.

We just love our local school and wider community. It’s really what makes us motivated to continue doing what we’re doing, we’re really proud to use local produce and employ locals in our business and we’re looking forward to seeing you all again really soon.

Gary ‘Nipper’ Harvey – Intersport

You should all be so very proud of yourselves and your R U OK? Mission. Businesses, especially local ones, really appreciate that.

As you know, we’ve been in this situation since March last year and around 70 per cent of businesses are all affected by COVID lockdowns, especially small business; the bigger businesses, they tend to cope, especially with online buying.

We all tend to look at the big business first before we look at little business, but we’re open for online shopping as well over the click-and-collect, so we hope you think about small businesses as well.

There’s a few ways that you can actually support the local business community, in particular, social media, you can share our posts, share our pages.

If you’re talking to people in the street, communicat­e with him, let him know that small businesses are out there, the more you spread the word about local small businesses, the better off we are.

When you’re purchasing goods and services, bear in mind the importance of shopping local.

We all love to get down to Melbourne, we understand that, but at this stage, we really need your support.

Stay positive, guys; as a community, we are all suffering, but we need to get through this, make sure that you try and stay as happy and positive and being positive around the whole school, around the community will certainly help us get back on track.

Spread kindness as well. As I said, it’s different times for us all, we’ve never experience­d this, so be kind to each other, support each other. Let’s not think of the negatives, let’s think of the positives, we’re going to get through this, and we’ll be back in business, hopefully very, very soon.

Jia O’Donoghue — The Last Straw Cafe

We’re doing okay. We are finding it a little bit hard with the inconsiste­ncy of what’s going to happen, but we’re taking it day by day, and we are doing okay.

We’re really grateful for the community and the support during these lockdowns. One of the best ways you can support businesses during this time is to support local where possible.

One of the best ideas we’ve come across, maybe for Christmas or any upcoming birthdays, is to consider getting vouchers from your local cafes, restaurant­s, shops or hairdresse­rs.

Other than that, from the team at The Last Straw Cafe´, we just want to say stay safe, and thank you for everything.

 ??  ?? Thanks for everything: The O’Donoghue family, John and Yao with daughters Jia and Jess at Shepparton’s The Last Straw Cafe.
Thanks for everything: The O’Donoghue family, John and Yao with daughters Jia and Jess at Shepparton’s The Last Straw Cafe.
 ??  ?? Tough times: Rob Priestly seeks support for local businesses.
Tough times: Rob Priestly seeks support for local businesses.
 ?? Ingrid Thomas. ?? Looking forward to better times:
Ingrid Thomas. Looking forward to better times:
 ??  ?? Stay positive: Gary ‘Nipper’ Harvey.
Stay positive: Gary ‘Nipper’ Harvey.

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