In a devastating blow for the Busselton and Nannup communities, most of the premises of the Match Factory was destroyed by fire on Saturday 16 March. Match Factory is an op-shop and low cost food centre run by Busselton Uniting Church, but it is so much more than that to the many people involved.
Match Factory also provide emergency hampers of food, bedding and clothing to people in need, as well as an important network for both clients and volunteers.
Yvonne Robinson, Chair of Match Factory, said emergency services were called to a fire at the property at around 5.00pm on Saturday, thankfully no one was in the building at the time. The cause is yet to be determined, but there are no suspicious circumstances and no-one was physically injured.
While services from the outreach have been suspended, as have donations, Yvonne said she is working hard to find a temporary space they can operate out of while Uniting Church Insurance Services work to assess the damage and work out the best way forward for the site. Yvonne said they have received a huge amount of support from all over the place.
“The community response has been absolutely amazingly overwhelming,” she said. “People are saying to us ‘find somewhere else and we’ll help you restock; let’s get you up and running again.’
“Everybody has been nothing but supportive. We’ve had offers of assistance from Uniting Churches in the eastern states, we’ve had messages from all over the state, we’ve had messages from other agencies in town and from individuals.”
On the Monday after the fire, Yvonne invited anyone involved with Match Factory to come down to the church for a cuppa and debrief. Sixty dedicated people turned up, wanting to share their concern, grief and appreciation for the community service.
“It’s much more than just an op-shop. It’s actually a community focal point,” Yvonne said. “The really important thing is that they keep feeling connected.”