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Community supports Jeremiah House

Jeremiah House
Founders of Jeremiah House, Peter Symes and Robert Stoker, at the Bundaberg Jeremiah House op shop.

The Bundaberg community is rallying around Bundaberg’s Jeremiah House, which opened a new op shop in March to help men in need.

Founders Peter Symes and Robert Stoker launched the op shop in March and said the community support had been overwhelming.   

“The Bundaberg community has fully supported our agenda and plans,” Robert said.

“It’s overwhelming and we’re very grateful; we didn’t know we were going to go so well.”

The op shop is only a small part of Peter and Robert’s not-for-profit organisation, Jeremiah House, which seeks to provide support and refuge to fathers and their children who are fleeing emergency family domestic violence situations.

Robert said money raised from the op shop would help fund an emergency men’s refuge centre in Bundaberg, where fathers and their children could stay for up to three months.

“This is all about raising funds for a shelter,” they said.

“There’s not much out there in regard to support for fathers and their children.

“There’s a few men’s shelters, but you couldn’t take your children there, so there’s really not many places in the country that provide this type of support for fathers and their children and that’s what we’re trying to address.

“Our objective is to provide emergency services in times of crisis, including but not limited to housing, support and the provision of services for fathers with children who are experiences and/or escaping family domestic violence and at times homelessness.”

Since opening, the op shop has been given clothing, furniture, homewares, books and various paraphernalia, which is all available to buy at affordable prices.

It’s more than just an op shop though. Peter said it's also been acting as a drop-in centre for fathers seeking advice or guidance.

“Our prices are a lot cheaper, but we’re also happy to haggle, with any price at all,” he said.

“On top of that, fathers can drop in and have a cup of coffee and a chat, and quite a lot of them have taken us up on that offer since we opened.”

Peter encouraged people to become involved, as volunteers were always needed for the op shop.

“We’re doing it by ourselves and we always need more volunteers,” he said.

“The Bundaberg community has been so amazing already but if you do want to volunteer you can go to Wide Bay Volunteers and put in an application form or just come straight to us.”

The Jeremiah House op shop at 85 Targo Street is open Monday to Friday 9am to 3.30pm and Saturday 9am to 12pm. Barbecues are held at the shop on Fridays from 8am.

To make a donation or for more information go to facebook.com/JeremiahHouse2018.

If you or someone you know requires support, contact Lifeline on 131 114 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

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