Wairarapa Resource Centre workers standing from left are Philippa Robinson, Ann Verwiej, Mark Spooner, manager Trudie Jones and Katie Maher. Seated from left are Stephanie Browne, Sylvia Buckley and Bernice Wood. This week the centre celebrates its fifth anniversary. PHOTO/GERALD FORD.

By Gerald FordRes

The Wairarapa Resource Centre marks its fifth birthday this week – five years of fulfilling its mission to reduce waste to the landfill provide inexpensive secondhand goods, and prepare people for employment.

Manager Trudie Jones describes the store, which has close to 20 mostly volunteer staff, as a “community based social enterprise”.

The centre was due to reopen yesterday (Tuesday) with a new layout including expanded books area.

after days of reorganisation including a new book area.

“We’ll open the door to a new re-brightened store,” manager Trudie Jones said.

Ms Jones said the store has seen 58 former volunteer staff members moved into fulltime employment.

Staff have included four from Idea services, and two migrants who spoke no English when they started but learnt on the job – who both went on to get paid jobs.

Even the Corrections Service has placed some of its charges with the Resource Centre as they work off their community work.

Two of those stayed on after their sentences were finished, to continue to prepare themselves for employment.

“It’s just got bigger and bigger,” Ms Jones said.

“We’ve just had our youngest at 16 get paid employment and our oldest which is 62, get a job… People that are employed are happier.

“One young girl came straight from school and worked her little butt off to get her experience up, and is now fully employed in Wellington.”

Each staff member has an assigned area to work.

The centre has a Re Use Shop which uses donated recycling clothing, furniture and other goods goods, and an E-Recycle Centre which takes appliances and electronics and either sells them or breaks them down into parts – many of which can be recycled.