Losses force Warrnambool's OzChild op shop to close its doors

OzChild will close its Warrnambool op shop.        140721AM40    Picture: ANGELA MILNE
OzChild will close its Warrnambool op shop. 140721AM40 Picture: ANGELA MILNE

OZCHILD will close its Warrnambool opportunity shop at the end of the month following two years of losses.

The family and children’s services agency has reported a total loss of $44,000 and an annual rent bill of more than $40,000 for the Lava Street premises.

Chief executive officer Lisa Sturzenegger said it was a hard decision. “We sadly cannot justify keeping the shop open,” she said.

“OzChild is 100 per cent focused on directing all our resources to protecting vulnerable children. Every dollar spent covering the losses for our op shop is a dollar that could be spent protecting children in the western region of Victoria.

“We opened the op shop with the clear intent to direct profits to supporting children and families facing relationship difficulties. As a not-for-profit organisation we cannot sustain the losses without negatively impacting on our core business of protecting children,” Ms Sturzenegger said.

 The op shop opened two years ago after the Melbourne-based OzChild took over the remaining programs previously run by Community Connections.

Community Connections ran its own op shop in Koroit Street, but this closed after the agency lost state funding for its foster care program. The funding was transferred to Brophy and the volunteers then re-opened the shop to support the new program.

Ms Sturzenegger said OzChild remained committed to supporting children and families in the region.

It has offices in Warrnambool and Portland and outreach locations in Hamilton and Camperdown, offering family law services, relationship and parenting programs, children’s counselling, indigenous playgroups, respite programs, emergency relief, no-interest loan schemes and a children’s scholarship program.