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6 October 2020

Helping Hands for Two Community Projects

Two worthy community projects are recipients of a welcome helping hand from Mitre 10, following a nationwide call which attracted over 250 nominations.

Mitre 10’s Helping Hands built an educational sensory pathway for Tauranga Special School last week. The next job is to create a pet-friendly space at a SHINE emergency shelter so women escaping domestic violence can bring their dogs with them.

Three further projects each received a $1,000 Mitre 10 Gift Card to help them get the job done:

  • upgrading the aluminium recycling bank run by the Picton Girl Guides
  • a temporary lifeguard tower for New Brighton Surf Lifesaving Club
  • a kitchen makeover for Food For Life Northland

Tauranga Special School teaches students aged 5-21 who have intellectual disabilities, physical or sensory impairments, or are on the autistic spectrum. The school’s new sensory pathway provides a stimulating experience with a variety of surfaces for wheelchairs to move over (wood, rocks set in concrete), tactile panels along the fence to reflect local stories and sensory dark room with switches to activate sounds and a roof that lights up like the night sky. Teacher Jo Crean said the project benefits students, their families and the wider community.

“The sensory pathway is unique and exciting because it gives viable options for multi-level learning. Educationally, it reflects the current and ongoing needs of all our students and addresses their engagement levels in new and exciting ways. On weekends and during school holidays, the area will be open to students’ families and the many services who provide respite care across the Bay of Plenty. It will be a safe, stimulating destination for these families and care services,” she explained.

The second project to receive a helping hand is one for SHINE, a national domestic abuse charity. Having to leave their loved family pets behind is a significant barrier for people fleeing violence in their homes. A run-down shed at one of SHINE’s refuges which will be converted into kennels so that people can bring their dogs with them. Only one other refuge in New Zealand accepts animals.

“Our clients say that their pets are an important part of the family, as well as their emotional support and many will stay in an unsafe situation because they cannot leave their pets behind. This project means that they don’t have to,” said SHINE’s Acting General Manager Sally Ward.

Mitre 10 Helping Hands, which began at Mitre 10 MEGA Nelson almost five years ago, reflects with the spirit of the nation as 2020 continues to serve up challenges, said Jules Lloyd-Jones, Mitre 10’s Chief of Customer Marketing & Inspiration.

“As Kiwi, we often band together to support our communities and get things done. As a co-operative spread from Kaitaia to Invercargill, Mitre 10’s locally owned stores do the same. Every year our stores support hundreds of community-based initiatives that help Kiwis love where they live, work and play.”