Op-shop model suits advice service

Attending the opening of Invercargill’s newest  op shop and drop-in centre in Don St are (from...
Attending the opening of Invercargill’s newest op shop and drop-in centre in Don St are (from left) Pregnancy Choice founder and director Janice Tetley-Jones, shop manager June Tapp, Marama South Charitable Trust chairwoman Fiona Meyer and Invercargill MP Penny Simmonds. PHOTO: TONI MCDONALD
Op-shopping fans have new wares to check out in the city’s newest op-shop — opposite the cop shop.

Invercargill’s newest opportunity shop on Don St was officially opened this week by Invercargill MP Penny Simmonds.

Marama South Charitable Trust founder Fiona Meyer said proceeds from the shop would go towards running Pregnancy Choice — a new centre established in the city for women dealing with an unplanned pregnancy.

Pregnancy Choice was founded 10 years ago in Tauranga, by Janice Tetley-Jones. It now operates in seven centres nationally.

"It’s sort of evolved into the op-shop model with a drop-in for the people who needed help or [were] in a stressful position with an unplanned pregnancy."

Mrs Tetley-Jones said the centre gave a place for women to sit and talk with a supporter about their situation especially when doctors did not have the time available.

"Up until now there have been facilities available to women that want an abortion, but what about those that are unsure or being coerced or are just scared of an unknown future or feel alone."

Mrs Meyer said the op-shop model had been successful because it provided funding and resources, but also provided people within the community the chance to help others through volunteer work.

"It gives people a sense of community, and I think that’s lacking in society so much these days. Loneliness hurts a lot of people."

It was important for women who were faced with an unplanned pregnancy to be able to find good and unbiased information about all the choices available to them so they could make an un-rushed, informed and well-thought decision for their future, she said.

Information was provided about adoption, different abortion procedures and risks, mother’s health and additional avenues of support.

"We’re there for the person ... and basically trying to reduce the barriers for people to come and seek help.

"We are here to be neutral and we’re not judgemental or anything like that."

People needed to understand the organisation was not supporting any bias, or affiliations to any particular church or religion.

Post-abortion counselling would also be available.

"There’s always the anniversary of what might’ve been the baby’s birthday that triggers [emotions] ... you can just have a one-on-one with someone confidentially, and that might just solve the problem ... for some it just never goes away.

Some people grieved over an abortion, while others did not, while some mothers were not affected by grief until months or years later.

"So everyone’s wired differently."

 - By Toni McDonald