Doncare closes three Op Shops
Aug 17, 2021

Doncare closes three Op Shops

To all Doncare supporters

As the CEO of Doncare, I write to you today to make an announcement regarding the organisation and where we are positioned right now, in the midst of the COVID pandemic.

As you will be aware, the COVID pandemic has had an enormous effect on Doncare’s people, our financial sustainability, the services we offer, and the community we strive to support. As we have navigated the challenges of COVID restrictions and responded to government directives, every element of the organisation has been impacted. I am very proud of every single team member for their dedication and commitment during what has been an extremely difficult time.

The financial impacts of the lockdowns have been unprecedented. As you will all appreciate, our op shop program has historically generated revenue to support the delivery of programs to people who need assistance. The temporary closure of the stores over the last 16 months has had a detrimental effect on our income streams. Furthermore, a 30-50% reduction in our volunteer workforce, has placed us in a position where we have experienced significant challenges adequately staffing stores during business hours.

Over the last financial year, we were very fortunate to secure a number of different grants and subsidies that enabled us to continue operating the op shop program during the pandemic. It has been my highest priority to ensure that Doncare continues to provide community hubs for people to remain connected through volunteerism, as well as generate income for the organisation.

Unfortunately, the provision for ongoing assistance from the government is currently not available to Doncare. As lockdowns continue to impact us financially, we are no longer able to benefit from most of the grants and subsidies we received previously. In the absence of such assistance, the financial instability of the op shop program in its current form places the whole organisation at risk. We cannot continue to sustain the current rental expenses when the stores are not producing revenue.

Given this, the time has come for myself and the Board to make some very difficult decisions. These decisions have not been made easily and have weighed heavily upon us all. These decisions have been particularly hard, because of the incredible staff team and the volunteers that support them.

It is with a heavy heart, that I reluctantly advise that the opportunity shop program will be re-modeled. This means reducing the number of retail locations from seven to four, as well as maintaining the depot. We will be closing our shops in Macedon and North Blackburn by mid-September and Bulleen will close in October.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the enormous hard work, tenacity, creativity, determination and dedication of the op shop team. I also want to acknowledge the generosity of spirit, loyalty and commitment of the many volunteers who have continued to support the op shops. Without them, we would not be able to open the stores and generate the revenue that has assisted Doncare to do our amazing work in the community.

Kind regards,

Gaby Thomson
CEO, Doncare