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Fay finds you a bargain

If you love bargains or have an eye for vintage knick knacks, you must be familiar with op-shops. Baptistcare has been in the business of bargains since 2002, when it took over the Bargain Centre in Morley from the Baptist Churches of WA.

If you love bargains or have an eye for vintage knick knacks, you must be familiar with op-shops.

Baptistcare has been in the business of bargains since 2002, when it took over the Bargain Centre in Morley from the Baptist Churches of WA.

Fay Lowry, 79, a seasoned op-shopper and volunteer of 26 years, began her work at the Bargain Centre in its early days.

She is one of many volunteers to be recognised this week during National Volunteer Week.

Ms Lowry said she and the other volunteers had stayed for many years because the Bargain Centre had gripped their interests.

“There’s just something about it. You want to make it work. You want it to be clean and you want to put good things out,” she said.

“We have 23 volunteers. Most of them have been here for more than10 years. Once they start to come, we don’t seem to lose them.”

The Bargain Centre relies on donations from the community. The volunteers sort through the donations and make sure only quality goods are displayed in store.

Ms Lowry said customers loved the Bargain Centre because it was kept as an old fashioned op-shop.

“Some time ago there was an idea to refresh the look of the Bargain Centre to make it look more like other op-shops. We put a book out on the counter and asked customers what they wanted us to change. Most of them wanted to leave it as it is,” she said.

Ms Lowry considers her volunteer work as a “public service”. She believes the Bargain Centre provides affordable goods to those who need them.

“A lot of young people who come in don’t have the money to buy new stuff. Some people don’t even have 50 cents. In this day and age, you still find people who are so desperate,” she said.

“We had one lady who would buy for herself, her husband and children and they were all beautifully dressed. She got everything for such a low price.”

She said she would keep volunteering, together with her husband Kevin who joined her after retirement, simply because she enjoyed what she was doing.

“It’s not a hardship. It’s fun. It gets very tiring, but it’s fun,” she said with a smile.

The last Census found that nearly one quarter (24%) of both 65-69 year olds and of 70-74 year olds spent time doing voluntary work.

Older people make up a large part of the 6.4 million volunteers who play a crucial role in our economy and contribute enormously to the life of Australia.

“Too often older people are seen as a burden, even a financial drain on our society and yet it is the opposite,” Sue Hendy, COTA Vic chief executive, said.

“Older Australians have much to offer the community besides their time and effort.  Their wisdom and experience is much needed in our society, more so now than ever before,” she added.

COTA is a volunteer based organisation and our volunteers set the policies, engage in advocacy, lobby for change and provide important information to hundreds of senior groups.

“Without volunteers, organisations from sporting and cultural groups, welfare and emergency services would simply not exist,” Ms Hendy said.

Visit the Baptistcare Bargain Centre at 2/8 Dewar St, Morley.

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