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Steptoe’s legacy remains

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(L-R) BDCH Manager Lyn Plummer and former Lioness and current volunteer Fred Moore, outside Steptoe’s Op Shop in Ballan. Photo – Lachlan Ellis

By Lachlan Ellis

It’s been 12 months since Ballan’s famous Steptoe’s Op Shop came under new management, but volunteers say the new managers have been a perfect fit.

Steptoe’s officially changed hands from the Ballan Lionesses to the Ballan & District Community House (BDCH) on July 1, 2021, after Lions Club’s International disbanded all Lioness organisations by June 30.

Last year, BDCH Manager Lyn Plummer said the Community House’s focus was “keeping up the good work the Lionesses have done in building up relationships and supporting local charities”.

And former Ballan Lionesses President, Fred Moore, says the Community House has done just that.

“We ran this place for 12 years as Lionesses, and it was difficult handing it over to someone else…but their quote was ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, and we agreed with that. That’s how it’s been, we still run it the same way as we did, and all the donations still go to the same people,” Ms Moore told the Moorabool News.

“The transition has been very good – there were a few little hiccups in the beginning, but we sat down and talked about them, and ironed them out, and now everything’s good. We haven’t got a whole lot of volunteers, but the ones we do have are great…there’s about five of us former Lionesses who have stuck around.”

BDCH Manager Lyn Plummer said the Community House remained committed to honouring the legacy of the Lionesses, by running Steptoe’s as similarly as possible.

“It’s been fairly seamless…I think everybody was a bit worried about the handover at first, but we’ve had Phaedra Press down there as our liaison and she’s fit in really well. The Board is really pleased, Steptoe’s is running really smoothly,” Ms Plummer said.

“We’re still giving out donations through the year from Steptoe’s, last year it was $21,000 which was pretty good given it was a COVID-affected year, and Steptoe’s closed down a bit through the year. Donations have gone across all different service organisations, including the Ballarat Legacy, the SES in Bacchus Marsh, all the CFA branches in the district, and sometimes funding for individuals if they need a wheelchair or things like that.

“We haven’t tried to impose, even though we’re more restricted by compliance and because we’re a registered charity…we wanted to keep the Lionesses’ legacy going, that they’d spent so much time and energy building up, and make sure that the money went out in the same way and to the same people that the Lionesses supported. And we’ve kept to that.”

Steptoe’s Op Shop is located at 111 Inglis St, Ballan, and is open from 9.30 am to 3.30 pm on Fridays, and 9.30 am to 1 pm on Saturdays.