Times and collection points
11.00AM – MERIMBULA RSL IN ALICE STREET, THE SEAT CLOSEST TO THE RSL CARPARK
11.07AM – TURA BEACH DRIVE, BUS SHELTER IN FRONT OF PLANTS PLUS
11.15AM – MERIMBULA, TENNIS COURT BUS SHELTER IN KALINDA STREET, OFF SAPPHIRE COAST DRIVE
11.20AM – MERIMBULA, IN MERIMBULA DRIVE AT BOLLER PARK (UP THE HILL TOWARDS THE WATER TANK)
11.25AM – MERIMBULA, BUSH SHELTER AT THE CALTEX SERVICE STATION ON MERIMBULA DRIVE
11.35AM – PAMBULA, CARAVAN PARK OFFICE IN TOALLA STREET, OPPOSITE NOLANS
11.40AM – IMLAY HOUSE, PAMBULA The bus departs Pearls Place at around 1.30pm for the return trip to Merimbula, arriving at around 2pm. Every effort is made to have the bus at each stop according to the timetable. Please be patient if the bus is a few minutes late. If people would like to be picked up or have questions about the bus timetable, please phone 0429 808144.
Pearls Place celebrates one year with new RSL courtesy bus and record guests
Article published June 2016
On the first anniversary of Pearls Place there is a hive of activity which has to be seen to be believed.
On this commemorative occasion the social café serves the most meals in its history, feeding 48 people three delicious home-cooked courses plus a large dose of kindness, care and company.
They were also able to welcome extra guests from Tura Beach and Merimbula thanks to Merimbula RSL Club donating its courtesy bus each week.
Pearls Place, an initiative of the Reaching Out Foundation, first opened in Merimbula in two temporary locations before finding a permanent home at the Pambula Masonic Centre.
A $2000 donation from Merimbula RSL and another $3800 from other clubs through the ClubGrants program, a Mumbulla Foundation grant and the generosity of the Pambula Masonic Centre helped Pearls set up its new home. The grant money went towards a new fridge, freezers, bain-marie and other pieces of kitchen equipment. The hall committee upgraded the floors and refitted the kitchen – installing new benches, dishwasher and stove.
But one aspect of the move was worrying coordinators. With the change of location, many of the original Merimbula-based guests weren’t able to come.
Merimbula RSL Board member Alan Johnson heard of their plight and the club is now making its courtesy bus available to Pearls every Wednesday to collect and drop off people from Tura Beach, Merimbula and Pambula.
“When Pearls Place was searching for a venue the RSL looked at ways we might be able to help but we just didn’t have the facilities to accommodate them,” RSL Secretary Manager Michael Mutsch said.
“Alan was really passionate about supporting them, so when he found out about their transport concerns, it was a really easy decision to make our courtesy bus available.”
Through the generosity of cash donations, regular food donations from supermarkets, bakeries, butchers and other food suppliers, fresh fruit, vegetables and eggs from the community, clothing donations from individuals and two op shops and support from Lumen Christi Catholic College students – Pearls is more than just a home cooked meal.
Chairperson Louise Maud said many of the guests felt like they belonged to a large family when they came to Pearls.
“The majority are retired and on low incomes, or they’re lonely or socially isolated,” Louise said. “We also have people who are unwell and it’s wonderful to see how they’ve changed since coming here. At first some couldn’t even walk into a crowded room because they were so intimidated by crowds, but now they are comfortable here and can walk straight in and sit down and start a conversation with others.”
Standing in the busy, buzzing hall watching people catch up with friends they haven’t seen for a week is a testament to the dedication and energy of those involved. The future of Pearls Place, which serves meals every Wednesday from noon until 1pm, is certainly looking bright.
For the forty volunteers, the one-year anniversary provided an opportunity to reflect on a challenging year. However, with so many meals to serve, most were unaware of the special occasion until it had been and gone.