When the Hospice Waikato retail managers in Cambridge and Te Awamutu arrived to start the new year raising much-needed funds for palliative care, quite different scenes welcomed them.
In Cambridge Justine Webb-Elliott saw lots of rubbish such as an old barbecue, soiled clothes and broken furniture. Opportunists had already picked through any of the good stuff, leaving the rest at the mercy of neighbourhood rodents.
But in Te Awamutu, Hassan Shariff had no such problems because the message had finally got through. “Please only leave donated goods during shop hours.”
So why the difference?
Hospice Waikato chief executive Craig Tamblyn pinpoints the change in attitude in Te Awamutu to a fire in the George Street premises several years ago.
The subsequent publicity and near loss of the building was a real wake up call.
“We’re quite lucky in Te Awamutu. They don’t dump there, they wait till we’re open and they come in,” he said.
Not so in Cambridge and while Tamblyn says they still want donated goods and clothing, they would rather people dropped them off when the store is open.
In Cambridge, that is Monday to Friday 10am to 3pm and Saturday 10am to 1pm. Te Awamutu is open Monday to Friday 10am to 2pm and Saturday 10am to 2pm.
There is photographic evidence of many of the people who donated rubbish in Cambridge for the hospice volunteers to sort through.
Tamblyn said he had no hesitation in contacting the police.
“We have prosecuted people before and will do it again.”
Hospice Waikato has eight shops throughout the Waikato relying on a network of dedicated volunteers.
Profits from the hospice shops provide funds for people living with a terminal illness. The shops are an integral part of the hospice’s fundraising efforts.
People found to be dumping unwanted goods and rubbish in public places can be fined up to $5000 under the Litter Act 1979 Section 15 (1).