St John hopes a new venture in Kaikohe will lift the organisation's profile and raise funds for new initiatives such as a shuttle for transporting patients to medical appointments.
Kaikohe's St John op shop opened in the old Paper Plus premises, at the corner of Broadway and Clifford St, last Saturday.
Kaikohe station manager Susan Dunn said the shop sprang from the need to recruit more volunteers and avoid sending out single-crewed ambulances. The organisation wanted a visible presence on Broadway, "and the project just grew and grew".
The shop would also promote St John services such as caring caller, in which volunteers phone the elderly, and St John cadets. Any money raised would be spent on ambulance equipment, training, youth programmes, defibrillators, and - all going well - a health shuttle to transport patients to medical appointments. Mid North territory manager Mark Going said op shops were an important source of funding for St John. They provided a double service because the income helped St John better serve the community, while also giving people a chance to buy low-priced goods.
St John received some Government funding but had to make up the shortfall with op shops, a supporters' scheme, donations, medical alarms and an annual fundraising drive.
The new shop sells household goods, furniture, clothing, books, electrical goods, toys and bric-a-brac. It is open 9am-4pm weekdays and 9am-1pm Saturdays. Northland's other St John op shops are in Kaiwaka, Kawakawa, Kerikeri, Mangawhai and Russell.