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New Cafes Jump On Board Manukau East Shopping Centre Shuttle

New Cafes Jump On Board Manukau East Shopping Centre Shuttle

Nine Botany Town Centre retailers will be warming their coffee cups to dish out complimentary coffee, tea and hot chocolate when the Manukau East Shopping Shuttle returns for a fourth year in February.

Goode Brothers, Swirl Cafe and Esquires (Pavilions) have joined six other retailers, Columbus Coffee, Muffin Break, Starbucks, The Coffee Club, Sierra and Esquires (Sunset Terrace) to offer the shuttle shoppers lots of choice when deciding where to enjoy their free hot drink.

The shuttle, organised by the Manukau East Council of Social Services (MECOSS), provides a door-to-door service to Botany Town Centre for older people, the sight–impaired, and others who have barriers to accessing shops and other services.

As part of the fortnightly service, these nine retailers offer shuttle passengers a complimentary tea, coffee or hot chocolate, giving them a chance for a sit-down and a catch-up before they get their hair done or run shopping or banking errands.

Vasu Moses from MECOSS started the service in 2007 after identifying a need to help several people who depended on family or friends or had to pay to get their shopping done.

“Many of these people were confined to their homes with few and limited choices for socialising,” says Vasu. “That was when I felt that if I could move and shake a few people something could be done to organise a weekly shopping trip for our seniors.

“The Salvation Army jumped on board to offer free use of their van, Age Concern organised the passengers, and Botany Town Centre offered free hot drinks and a good shopping venue for people with limited mobility, and the service was born. Now with nine cafes involved and 12 to 15 shoppers per fortnight the shuttle keeps going from strength to strength.

“We always welcome new shoppers who might like to take advantage of the service as well as volunteers to help out."

The service relies on a number of loyal volunteers who drive the shuttle, act as companions when necessary and assist people with their shopping.

Botany Town Centre Senior Centre Manager Jennifer Andrews says it’s great to have the shuttle back for its fourth year. “We’re delighted that nine retailers have come on board to make sure they receive a warm welcome to kick off their shopping trip. This is a wonderful community initiative to help those that otherwise might struggle to make it to the Centre on a regular basis and have a bit of fun in the process,” she says.

The shuttle runs every second Thursday morning. Shoppers have around two hours to shop before being collected for their return trip home.

Anyone who wants to be part of the Manukau East Shopping Shuttle can contact the Manukau East Patient Transport Service on 0800 637 284 or 0800 ME PATIENT.

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