Cobram’s Youth Op Shop has helped the community for about two years and now the community has returned the favour.
Local businesses and the Cobram Men’s Shed have begun restoring the op shop to its former glory after a burglar kicked down its back door and stole items including a $2500 electrical test and tag machine.
The machine was on loan from the Men’s Shed, which led youth group leader Rob Morey to wonder how the op shop could ever afford to repay the money.
He was relieved when the Men’s Shed offered to waive the debt and even began raising money to help repair the damage to the building and buy them another machine.
Others jumped on board, including Barooga’s Trikki Kidz early learning group who raised $352 through a cake stall and the op shop’s landlord Paul Kaye, who donated 50 per cent of the money needed for repairs.
‘‘We want to acknowledge the incredible generosity of local businesses and the Men’s Shed,’’ Mr Morey said.
‘‘Out of something very disappointing in the robbery and the damage to the building, a positive has come out of it.
‘‘Let’s hope we’re not robbed again but let’s hope the generous people in this community continue to show their real colours.’’
Rob Butler from the Men’s Shed spent more than 100 hours restoring an antique rocking horse which he will raffle to raise money for the op shop.
When he first laid eyes on the horse it was a ‘‘total wreck’’ that had been lying abandoned under a house for years.
‘‘We never knock back anything,’’ Mr Butler said.
After some investigation, Mr Butler discovered the horse was much more valuable than he had anticipated.
‘‘It’s an original. We contacted the rocking horse man in Adelaide and he said it’s an original piece from England.’’
The raffle tickets will be drawn on December 20 at the op shop, with profits to be shared between the shop and the Men’s Shed.
Men’s Shed secretary treasurer Terry Langton said the fundraising was meant to help the op shop as well as raise the shed’s profile.
‘‘There’s a lot of elderly up here in this area that don’t even know about the shed,’’ Mr Langton said.
‘‘But once they come into the shed they don’t want to go home. They’re there at eight in the morning.
‘‘Men’s sheds were set up for men’s health, a place where men could get together and talk together and be in men’s company.
‘‘Some blokes decided they wanted to do some carpentry and lead lighting.
‘‘Of our 20 members we’ve got 15 who can’t do anything at all because of depression, anxiety or some sort of physical problem.
‘‘We are very small but there are a lot of blokes in this town that wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the shed,’’ Mr Langton said.
‘‘I know of at least two blokes who would’ve committed suicide in the last two years if it wasn’t for the Men’s Shed.
‘‘We just want to give people a hand.’’