The old cellphones buried deep in your cupboard drawers can actually be used to save someone's life.

Kainga Aroha and Te Awamutu St John Op Shop are working in partnership to reduce family harm.

Project organiser is Richard Hurrell, a member of the St John area committee, as well as local police officer and member of Te Awamutu Community Board.

He says family harm victims seeking help can be fraught with challenges as their access to help can often be maliciously blocked.

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"Many offenders often recognise that damaging or stealing of victims' phones is the first step in preventing access and controlling their victims," he says.

"One of the ways these organisations are helping victims of family harm is by providing cellphones that can be used to contact the police for emergencies. To make an emergency call to 111 does not require a Sim card in a cellphone."

For the first time in this community they are appealing to the public to donate their old phones so they can be distributed to appropriate victims.

It is a project which has been run successfully in other parts of New Zealand and the St John area committee considered it was a good project to initiate here.

Richard says people need to make sure these old phones are still in working condition and to please include the charger.

These old phones can act as a lifeline to a victim who is in danger.

They can be taken to the Te Awamutu St John Op Shop at 16 Alexandra St or alternatively if you have a large number of phones contact Richard on 027 458 8164 to arrange collection.