Works at BHS forces volunteer-run shops to close at hospital

TWO volunteer-run shops at Ballarat Base Hospital will close in a fortnight before the demolition of the Drummond Street building. 

VIP Flower Shop and Ballarat Health Service (BHS) Kiosk, located on the first floor of the Drummond Street entrance, will close on June 30. 

About 40 dedicated volunteers between the two stores have been asked to find other volunteer work in the hospital.

Some people have been volunteering at the kiosk since it opened 20 years ago. 

Margaret Potter, who has been volunteering at the hospital kiosk for seven years, said BHS did not know where to relocate the stores.

“We are devastated,” Ms Potter said. 

“We have offered that it could open somewhere else (in the hospital) but they said it was not possible.”

Fellow volunteer Helen Atkins said the store was very busy, especially with last-minute arrivals into the hospital.

“There are toiletries for people who forget to bring it in or are staying longer than they originally thought,” she said. 

VIP Flower Shop volunteer Marlene Byron said she was not too worried about the closure of the stores. 

“I’m not concerned myself. I have contributed and done my bit for the community,” she said. 

“These things happen.” 

BHS is undergoing a major redevelopment project that will see the reconstruction of the Drummond Street building in the next two to three months. 

BHS spokesman Daniel Anderson said staff had been in discussions with volunteers for more than six months.

"Unfortunately, we have been unable to find any suitable options for a temporary relocation,” Mr Anderson said. 

“The stores will have to go into recess while the new building is reconstructed.”

Mr Anderson said the new Drummond Street building would have a volunteer-run shop. 

Although the volunteer shop raised money for the hospital, Mr Anderson could not reveal how much revenue was raised annually. 

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Mr Anderson said BHS valued the contribution volunteers had made to the hospital. 

“We have 280 volunteers in all sorts of areas, from aged care to the emergency department, doing a whole range of activities,” he said. 

“We do value their contribution over the years.”

kara.irving@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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