Te Anau community charity shop supports local organisations

“The Grace Place” Volunteer co-ordinators Robinette Pari and Linda Murdoch.  Photo Julie Walls
“The Grace Place” Volunteer co-ordinators Robinette Pari and Linda Murdoch. Photo Julie Walls
Charity shops nationally and internationally are all popular with locals, visitors both national and international.

It could be a called a trend, a convenience, being thrifty or just good old fashioned “to grab a bargain!! The Grace Place in Te Anau has grown since its inception in 2006 and has also had a name change during its time in operation.

Lynley Lamb officially cut the ribbon of “The Grace Place” on 20 May 2014. The new Totalspan purpose-built premises is situated behind the Te Anau Presbyterian Lakeside Church, started trading in April 2014. The premises was constructed with major support from the Presbyterian Synod of Otago and Southland, Community Trust of Southland, Te Anau Mitre 10 and also Wally Harrington for his hours of volunteer labour.

Their first charity shop “The Shed” was first opened in 2006 by Lynley Lamb, the wife of Te Anau Lakeside Presbyterian Church Pastor, Karl Lamb, who was instrumental in establishing the shop.

This was situated in the Presbyterian Church Manse garage in Moana Crescent. The charity store at the time was operated in affiliation with the Presbyterian Church to sell pre-loved or donated goods and the revenue was to benefit the community.

The Manse premises was getting too small and also when establishing the shop Lynley didn’t realise that the Fiordland Players had the same name for their space. This in turn lead to people occasionally dropping donated goods at the Players shed, having mistaken it for the charity shop.

The shop under its new incarnation initially started under the volunteer co-leadership of Linda Murdoch and Winice Fisken. Since the departure of Winice from the area, the position has been filled by Robinette Pari.

Volunteer Co- ordinator Linda Murdoch said “The shop has multiple roles and met a huge need in the Fiordland community. Seasonal workers come in and they will kit themselves out for their flat”.

“Many travellers used it as a meeting place, and it was particularly popular among Italians, Chileans and Brazilians, with backpackers often coming in for a pot or a spoon or a knife," she said.

One end of the building will be partitioned off in the future, to be used as a Sunday School space for the Lakeside Presbyterian Church.

Mrs Murdoch said: "The Grace Place in unable to accept any electronics or appliances and pre-loved clothing is requested to be without major marks and stains. All gifts of items are appreciated that everyone brings and the shop would not be able to function without the generous donations”.

“New clothes racks have been donated by H J Smith Te Anau and has given a new fresh look for clothes on display, which are rotated frequently”.

“The current shop premises is not big enough for everything we get, so the overflow goes to other charity shops in Riverton, Gore, Winton, and Invercargill. Crafty people out there in the community, like to upgrade and remake garments. We now have a green wheelie bin with a yellow sign outside the door and people are free to help themselves when the shop is open”, she said.

Profits are spread far and wide throughout the community, with a very successful year. Annual earnings over previous 12 months has distributed more than $12,000 among 21 local groups and organisations, from schools and early childhood to Search & Rescue, Fiordland Community Swimming Pool, Te Anau Community Toy Library, Fiordland Trails Trust, croquet, rifle shooting, and netball.

Linda said “There are about 16 volunteers grouped into two teams that managed the shop each week. We don’t have to look for volunteers there is always somebody available”.

On average, 58 people have visited The Grace Place on a weekly basis over the past year.

The shop is open 10.00am - 2.00pm Saturdays with every Thus 2nd Thursday 6.30pm – 8.30pm. Goods can be dropped off during these hours or drop off every day available, to be put in the green shed.

For more information about The Grace Place, you can contact co-ordinator Linda Murdoch on 03 249 4290.

 - Julie Walls

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