A world of opportunities

by Andy Bryenton

Visitors to Mangawhai during what has been a long, hot and busy summer will often ask why the main street’s big blue and white second-hand emporium is called the Opportunity Factory. Aside from the obvious, it’s a massive op-shop situated in what was once a factory-sized auto workshop there’s a deeper story to the name, which tells you a lot about this close-knit seaside community.

The concept of the Opportunity Factory is simple, and it’s one, which is familiar to second-hand shoppers worldwide. Unwanted goods tend to pile up in our homes, and when it’s time to get rid of them, there are plenty of charitable organisations who will gladly accept them, turning them into donations to fund their good works. The concept here, however, has been ‘hyper localised’ for the direct and immediate benefit of the town. Every item donated is tidied up, priced and put on display by a team of volunteers passionate about their town. The dollars from all those bargains tend to mount up. At the end of 2018, the Opportunity Factory disbursed more than $100,000 to thirty local projects and organisations, all to help make Mangawhai a better place.

That’s not cash from central government or the local council, or even from other events. It’s a combination of three traits, which you’ll find in most every Kiwi town the volunteering community spirit, generosity, and the love of a good bargain.

Bring them together, as the Mangawhai Opportunity Factory Trust have done, and you have the recipe for success. Now they are looking for another round of worthy causes in the local area to assist. This time there’s, even more, giving to be done, and applicants are invited to visit www.mangawhaiopportunityfactory.com to check out the criteria. Broadly, the key criteria for grants are that the project enhances the Mangawhai community and delivers beneficial social benefits. It could mean a boost for youth clubs, a project to beautify a particular area, a plan to assist older residents or any one of many great ideas. The folks at the Opportunity Factory have one big message — don’t be shy! Bring your ideas for the betterment of Mangawhai forward and join the movement.