Member Organisation Stories

JennyHatcher-RotoruaReStore (2)

Habitat for Humanity ReStore Rotorua

"...the opportunity to make something larger out of their day to day lives."

Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Rotorua is a welcoming place. You feel it when you arrive.

Habitat’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Habitat for Humanity is a not for profit organisation that works in partnership with people of goodwill and families in need, to eliminate substandard housing, by building, repairing, renting and selling simple, decent homes on an affordable basis.

All sales in the ReStore generate funds to support Habitat’s mission. Habitat’s assisted home ownership program gives families a hand up, not a hand out into owning a home. The rent-then-buy model helps families build up a deposit, which they can use to buy their home from Habitat. Rotorua ReStore manager Jenny Hatcher has been successful in achieving the aims of the organisation and has also managed to build an army of volunteers who have gained skills, confidence and professional experience from their voluntary work in this large store.

Habitat for Humanity has a strict code of conduct where each volunteer is responsible for upholding the values and aims of the organisation. Volunteers usually spend their first shift completing induction training with Jenny, which details everything about Habitat for Humanity, including what is acceptable and Jenny says this creates a safe process for both the volunteer and the organisation. Manager and volunteer coordinator Jenny’s main objective in the way she trains and inducts the volunteers in her store is more towards making them feel valued and in seeing them gaining confidence as they learn new skills. Jenny says that the Habitat for Humanity ReStore has a strict no discrimination policy in place regarding gender, age, physical, ethnicity, race or disability etc.

Apart from being upskilled and building a network for more skilled and paid work, volunteers are encouraged with formal recognition for their time and efforts. The 2017 Volunteer of the Year award went to long-time volunteer Miriama Swanson, known affectionately in the store as Millie. According to Jenny, it was important to show the volunteers how much their time and efforts were appreciated, and that the organisation valued their contribution highly.

The Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Rotorua functions like a family, where members often return for that feeling of belonging that comes in a place which grants them the opportunity to make something larger out of their day to day lives. “It is so rewarding,” Jenny said, “to see people learn how to use technology, or even a mechanical instrument and gain a sense of achievement.”