New building will boost Hospice revenue in Northland

A donated goods processing centre and retail outlet being built by Hospice Mid-Northland on its Kerikeri Road site is largely complete and set to open within the next few months. The innovative insulated panel building is one of only three in the District and will help the organisation potentially to earn an extra $100,000 a year which it will spend on providing specialist palliative care to terminally-ill people.

The extra money will come from sales growth and significant efficiencies in stock movement, both enabled by the additional space in the new 675 square metre building.

Hospice Mid-Northland receives a growing volume of donated goods each year which it sells through its shops in Kerikeri, Kawakawa and Kaikohe, generating about $500,000 of sales, or 41 percent of the organisation’s total revenue. It has outgrown its existing processing centre for physical donations and the constrained environment is restricting its ability to move goods quickly and efficiently to where they can be sold.

It also poses significant health and safety risks for its volunteers, most of whom are elderly. Eight out of every 10 health and safety incidents recorded at the site involve volunteers tripping over goods in the cramped conditions.

The $900,000 project has been funded by Pub Charity together with $200,000 raised by Hospice Mid-Northland through its operational income and two years of intensive fund-raising. No bequest money or funds dedicated to the sustainability of Hospice’s service have been used.

It has been managed on a pro bono basis by Far North Holdings, the commercial trading and asset management arm of Far North District Council (FNDC).
“This has saved us about 10 percent of the total build cost and an enormous amount of stress and disruption,” said Hospice Mid-North general manager Belinda Watkins. “We’re essentially a healthcare organisation comprising clinical and support staff who work alongside volunteers – there’s no way we could have briefed architects, planned and managed the financials, dealt with the Consenting process and managed the contractors in the way that Far North Holdings has done for us. We’re really very grateful to them for bringing their expertise to bear for us on this project.”

She said the shed-like structure was a cost effective and competitive way to generate the space Hospice Mid-Northland needed. The insulated panels would keep ongoing heating, cooling and maintenance costs to a minimum.

Up to 35 volunteers will be able to work in the new building in safety and comfort. Most of the space will be used for storing medical equipment and processing donated goods for sale. The remaining third will be a dedicated furniture sales area and will help ensure that donated furniture does not have to be double-handled.

“Put simply, this new building will help us move more product more quickly and more efficiently,” Ms Watkins said. “The additional money this will generate each year will help us meet an ever-growing need for palliative care services in the Mid-North.”

Hospice Mid-Northland’s clinical team will remain in the organisation’s existing Kerikeri Road building.

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