Porirua’s Free Store Shuts Down Due to Threats and Abuse

Salim Ali
Published 1 month ago on 29 January, 2024
Abuse and threats force Porirua Free for All store to close

Abuse and threats force Porirua Free for All store to close, a community-driven initiative that has been a lifeline for many. Dee Glentworth’s Free for All store, a haven for donated goods in Wellington, is shutting down amidst safety concerns for volunteers and customers.

Key takeaways

  • Free for All store in Porirua is closing due to safety issues.
  • The store operated on a $5 entry fee and offered free donated items.
  • Incidents of abuse and waste dumping have escalated recently.
  • Community leaders and volunteers seek solutions to keep the store open.
The Free for All store in Porirua, which provided essential goods at minimal cost, is closing due to increased abuse and threats to staff and volunteers, jeopardizing its future.

Community Store Faces Unprecedented Challenges

Free for All has been a unique retail concept, thriving on the principle of rehoming items and supporting those in need. However, the recent surge in aggressive behavior and threats has forced the closure of this community gem. Dee Glentworth, the store’s founder, has expressed her distress over the inability to maintain a safe environment, with police assistance stretched thin.

The store’s struggles reflect a broader societal issue where the cost of living crisis has heightened tensions and desperation. This has led to a ‘total shift in the feel of everything,’ according to Glentworth, with the team facing hostility instead of the respect and safety they deserve.

Searching for Solutions to Keep the Store Afloat

Greater Wellington Regional councillor David Lee, a long-term supporter, has stepped forward to help restructure the store’s operations. By considering a registration or membership model, the aim is to deter negative elements and preserve the store’s mission. Lee’s commitment to the cause is a testament to the store’s significant impact on the community.

Local businesses and residents, like Callan Lombard, have voiced their frustration over the situation. Lombard’s family benefited from the store when they needed it most, highlighting the essential role Free for All plays in the lives of many. The community’s response underscores the necessity to find a resolution that ensures the store’s survival.

Year Founded Location Model Recent Challenges
9 years ago Porirua, Wellington $5 entry, free goods Abuse, threats, safety concerns

Abuse and threats force Porirua Free for All store to close, marking a sad turn for a project that has been much more than a store—it has been a community pillar. The store’s closure is not just a loss of free goods, but a symbol of the challenges faced by charitable initiatives in tough economic times. The hope remains that with community support and innovative solutions, Free for All can reopen and continue its mission of giving with joy, not fear.

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