Volunteers in short supply

Volunteers are in short supply at the Waipuna Hospice Papamoa Charity Shop.

Waipuna Hospice Papamoa Charity Shop is in desperate need of volunteers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hospice needs to raise $4.25 million this year and its retail operations supply almost half of that.

Waipuna Hospice Charity Shop in Papamoa is its largest earner, providing almost one-third of the retail income.

Shop manager Paula Taplin says volunteer numbers there have dropped significantly and they are at least 30 volunteers short of a full operating team.

“We currently have about 83 volunteers across our seven-day roster. Pre-COVID we had more than 100 volunteers and we were already short. As a result, we are constantly looking at the roster and having to shoulder tap existing volunteers to see if they can do extra shifts. The majority of people are kind enough to do that, but it only adds pressure which isn’t what we want. We don't want volunteering to become a chore for people, we want people to come and enjoy what they're doing.”

Waipuna Hospice retail manager James Turner says Papamoa has lost a large proportion of its volunteers during this pandemic.

“The shop is only just going back to seven-day trading but this is not sustainable with the current volunteer levels.

“Some of our volunteers were only able to help while we reopened, which we greatly appreciated.

“However, we now need long term replacements as this lack of volunteer numbers has seriously reduced the shop’s ability to provide financial support for Waipuna Hospice.”

COVID-19 highlighted the volunteer sector’s vulnerability. A large number of older volunteers were advised to stay home and many are still wary about returning.

To make up numbers, Waipuna Hospice is asking anyone healthy, able and willing to please volunteer their time.

Volunteers are valued for an array of capabilities, like sorting through appliances, discovering treasure hidden in bric-a-brac, physical strength for lifting furniture and fridges, customer skills and a plain old willingness to get stuck in and help sort donations into valuable components that can be sold in our shops.

“We usually find that most people have got something they can contribute to our shop,” Paula says.

Allan and Laila Morpeth have been volunteering at Waipuna Hospice since 2014 and are still loving the experience.

Laila is often the smiling face you will see behind the counter, or helping organise the clothing department. While Allan is Papamoa’s go-to handy-man who has a knack for sales. Whether it’s fixing furniture, replacing watch batteries, repairing crockery, or doing the heavy lifting, Allan is happy helping.

“Our favourite thing about volunteering is getting out of the house. We're a bit inclined to do things on our own because we have no children so it's nice to come and work somewhere where we are meeting people and being helpful,” says Laila.

To volunteer, visit: www.waipunahospice.org.nz/volunteer/ email: volunteers@waipunahospice.org.nz or phone: 07 552 6897.

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