Charity shops for community causes blossom in Warkworth

Research shows that Kiwis like a bargain so it could be a selling point for Warkworth in future following the opening of the town’s sixth charity shop this month.

The Mahu Community Trading Post, in the former Toyota building in Whitaker Road, is a not-for-profit business setup to raise money for community causes by utilising the skills and business experience of retirees and semi-retirees.

It is run by volunteers and is selling goods such as secondhand and re-purposed machinery, building materials, outdoor furniture and equipment, household appliances, furniture, clothes and electronic equipment.

The opening follows close on the heels of the launch of the Warkworth Community Shop in the Bayleys Building, on Winscombe Mall, and the Warkworth Museum shop in Baxter Street. The other three more established op shops – two in Argyll Angle and one at Tui House – all support Warkworth Wellsford Hospice.

Trading Post coordinator Desiree Hoey says the new shop will give volunteers an opportunity to feel they are of value and, in return, feel valued by the community.

“Collectively, we’ve got about 150 years fundraising and volunteering experience,” she says.

“We are filling a niche not covered by existing community shops in that we have large premises to cater for items such as furniture, machinery, whiteware and so on. We also have the expertise to restore, recycle and up-cycle these items.”

Both the Community Shop and the Trading Post have been setup by former hospice volunteers.

Warkworth Wellsford advisory board chair Stephanie Paxton-Penman says the recent surge in charity shops, particularly in Warkworth, simply represents one of the great things about this community and its desire to help others.  

“We know hospice is not the only charity which needs funding and we appreciate all the support the community gives us to help us provide care to around 120 local patients and their families each year,” she says.

“Income from our Warkworth, Wellsford and Tickled Pink stores, together with the garage sale proceeds, provide well over half the income needed to operate Tui House. This is an extraordinary effort, which is matched by few other hospices. All the funds raised locally are spent on our local service.

“Having more retail stores is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, we consider it to be a positive outcome, which will hopefully mean that more visitors come to our area to experience the treasures in our stores.

“That said, we do still need and appreciate the community’s support because without donations we cannot support those we care for and their families.”

Stephanie says hospice also supports individuals and groups facing severe hardship, offering them excess stock as appropriate. For example, extra clothing, linens and other items go to Women’s

Refuge and books to the Wellsford Lions Club and Matakana Animal Sanctuary. Football boots go to the junior football club and crafts and other materials to schools and preschools.

One Warkworth manager Murray Chapman says if all the shops do well, then they are obviously meeting a need.

But if they are just dividing the pie into smaller portions, then it’s likely that some won’t last, he says.

“It boils down to where we want to position the town,” Murray says. “I haven’t heard anything negative about the new op shops, but I wouldn’t like to see any more open. I believe what most people would like to see is a mix of retail that meets the needs of the whole community.”

The new Trading Store welcomes donations and has plenty of parking on site. Items can be dropped at the store in the allocated drop off zone or pick-ups can be arranged by phoning Trevor on 021 201 3295.