August 17th, 2020Game, set and healthy match
Club vice president and collective volunteer Dianne van Baalen said the collective had approached the tennis club because they had outgrown the building they had been operating out of – the former police cells behind the Daylesford Neighbourhood Centre.
“President Beverly Risstrom approached me about our clubrooms which had housed the Daylesford Dharma School for many years until they moved to their new site.
“They asked if they could have a co-lease – so we have half of the space each and also a common area. It’s a great building although it was looking a little tired, but when we agreed on the lease the collective got very busy with heaps of volunteers and paint and really spruced it up. It looks a million dollars now, a really beautiful space.”
Dianne said it was great for the collective because their former home had been too small to operate during the pandemic and they had been restricted to deliveries, but they were now back to being able to have members come in and shop – all COVID-safe.
“And I really do believe that it is a perfect match. Hepburn Wholefoods is all about organic food and local produce, and no packaging and a very strong environmental principle – all based on health for the community and the country.
“And the tennis club is totally about that too. About people being healthy and getting out and having fun and enjoying themselves. I really feel we are on the same page about healthy communities.
“And with their work they have created a better facility for us which we will be able to use after the pandemic. It has also given us a bit of impetus in using that space in a better way and we are currently looking at using the historic nature of the club to create links to the past – with photos and stories from the heydays of tennis in the town.”
Dianne said tennis was still up and running with asphalt courts used over Winter and the grass courts coming into their own over Summer. Even with COVID rules, couples and family groups of up to four could play, she said. However, plans for a Welcome Week to see Summer back in are on hold for now.
Beverly Risstrom said the collective had been “bursting at the seams” when it started looking for a new site 18 months ago but everything was either too small or, mostly, too expensive.
Earlier this year she visited the clubrooms with her husband Pete, a 20-year tennis club member, and realised it would be perfect.
“It had been empty for about 18 months and was a little tired and cold but we had a mad rush of energy and repainted the place, bought a gas heater and transformed it – with many thanks to artist Kristeena Saville for the colour scheme.
“Everything also seemed to come at just the right time. One of our volunteers was short of work so he put in the shelves, we had a massive fridge donated and that took eight people to get it in place – and we are talking about people who just wanted to help. It has been a really bright spot during this time.”
Beverly said the only downside was that the collective would generally be a place for people to gather, share a cuppa and a chat, perhaps a hug.
“For now, we only have four people inside and it’s ‘shop quickly, don’t chat and when you are done, please leave because we have others waiting’, so that’s not so much fun.
“But the feedback from people is just glorious. And when this is over we will have 10 openings!”
Hepburn Wholefoods Collective is open to members only on Mondays 9.30am-11.30am, Wednesdays 2pm-4pm, Thursdays 3pm-5pm and Saturdays 11am-1pm.
Annual memberships are $40 ($20 concession) with volunteers free. Head to www.hepburnwholefoods.org.au to join up.
For information about the Daylesford Lawn Tennis Club call Dianne on 0481 393 342 or email email@example.com
Words: Donna Kelly | Image: Mara Ripani