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St John Op Shop has new Manager

St John Op Shop has new Manager

It’s always busy - people coming into St John Op Shop looking casually for a bargain or searching for a much needed item at the best possible price. There’s a team of shop assistants, happy to assist the customers, or sort newly delivered donations of clothing, bric a brac and household goods and then rearrange the stock after browsers have finished. There is a humm of purposeful activity. This is Hato Hone St John Opportunity Shop in Albert Street, Mercury Bay. The ‘Hato Hone’ is a new addition to the name being Maori for Saint John. This ‘central station’ of Albert Street has a new Manager, Bea Cox.

Bea is a powerhouse of energy and a warm engaging leader.

“ I am really enjoying it,” she says. “It is a lot busier than I imagined; there are not enough hours in the day. There is such high foot traffic because we are in such a great spot here on the main street. When asked about challenges ahead that need to be dealt with, Bea responds, “ I would like to make some small changes to be able to display some of our stock in a better way. We need to manage donations as they come in because we don’t have the storage and space. This is an every day task as the community is very genrous in what they donate and the amount they bring in to the store. It is such a blessing to receive so many donations and the full range of furnishings, clothing and household goods. This community is always thinking of us.”

Bea beams around the volunteers. “It’s the team of volunteers who make this job fulfilling and at times such fun,” says Bea. “They are so experienced and well versed in what to do and where to put things as well as pricing items. Many have come from professional backgrounds, such as retail. fashion or jewellery, or accounting and management, so people come to shop at a secondhand shop but get first-hand professional help and knowledge. These volunteers work hard and ‘go the extra mile’.”

The work of the funds: The reason the shop exists is so that monies from the shop can go back into the community and support a range of local community health initiatives:

Supporting those in need in the Whitianga community with affordable clothing, bedding, furniture and other homeware.

Making it easy for people to recycle no longer needed items, funding a range of community health initiatives.

Holding First Aid courses. This year Hato Hone St John has held the following courses locally which have been free for the community: -Two First Aid courses, - learning how to treat common injuries and respond to life threatening medical emergencies, including administering CPR; - One Child First Aid course, aimed at anyone in charge of young children; teaches participants the skills and gives confidence to identify and respond to serious medical emergencies in babies and children. Three Mental Health First Aid courses, which are one day and for adults, teaching participants how to look after their own mental wellbeing, to recognise and respond to signs of mental distress in others, and provide initial help to someone experiencing a mental health crisis and call for professional help. 

Providing a Health Shuttle service. Transport to any kind of healthcare appointment including the doctor, dentist and local hospital (Thames and Hamilton). There is no fee to use the service, but a donation is appreciated. It is wheelchair accessible and you need to book at least 24 hours in advance. Call 0800 934 287 to book or find out more.

AEDS in the community and 3 Steps for Life. Hato Hone St John funds have paid for a number of defibrillators around the community, and Hato Hone keeps a register and audits the AEDs periodically. 

Support to Frontline Ambulance Volunteer Staff. Many of the frontline ambulance staff are volunteers or are paid staff who volunteer on top of their normal shifts. Recognising and thanking these people for their contribution is important.

In addition, volunteers run free courses known as 3 Steps for Life to teach people how to respond in a cardiac arrest emergency

Upgrade to the Ambulance Station.  Plans for an upgrade to the station are now being finalised which will enable Whitianga Station to be a major hub for the area. Alongside retail store funds, we will be reaching out to the community to support this initiative

Hato Hone St John Mercury Bay Area Committee administers the funds and implements these initiatives. Chairperson Richard Vetter

Other contact: Anne Gummer, Community Engagement Hauraki-Coromandel ph 021 108 0989 email


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