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Charity House looks set to exceed $500,000 for charity

Charity House looks set to exceed $500,000 for charity

Now in its sixth year, Otago Polytechnic’s celebrated Charity House project looks set to have raised more than $500,000 for Otago charities once the latest house is auctioned this weekend.

The award-winning, community-minded initiative sees the Polytechnic’s carpentry students build a house for auction. Not only does the Polytechnic work closely with more than 20 local businesses to finish and market the house, but it donates all profits to more than 30 local charities annually through the fundraising distributor, United Way. Because of this initiative, Otago Polytechnic is by far Otago’s largest source of funding to United Way, donating about $465,000 from the Charity Houses over the past five years. This year’s auction will almost certainly bring that total to more than half a million dollars.

The house is constructed on campus in Dunedin to maximise learning opportunities for the students, two-thirds of whom have no prior building experience when they start the task.

“It’s a real credit to the students and staff involved,” says Graham Burgess, the Polytechnic’s Carpentry Programme Manager. “There’s a real sense of achievement and satisfaction for the students, especially when they attend the open homes and hear people comment on the exceptional standard of the properties.”

Partnerships with local businesses are key to the project’s ongoing success. “These relationships mean a larger profit from the sale of the house which, in turn, means more money for donation across Otago,” explains Graham. “Without the input of these businesses, the amount of funding available for distribution would be reduced by about 50 per cent.”

The Polytechnic’s Business Relationship Manager, Bevan Rickerby agrees. “The support of our sponsors is critical – we couldn’t do it without them. It’s telling that most of these businesses have been involved since the very first charity house, which is just fantastic.”

Dunedin Mayor, Dave Cull, says raising more than $500,000 for local charities is an achievement “that can be attributed not only to the commitment of the students and staff at this excellent Dunedin institution but also to the support and dedication of a large number of local businesses.

“Thank you to everyone who has participated. Endeavours such as these are worthy of our support, and we can all celebrate its ongoing success.”

It was just recognition when the Charity House initiative won this year’s Excellence in Community Engagement award from the Australasian Association for Tertiary Education Management.

“There’s a lot of pride involved for the organisation, and there’s a lot of pride in it for students,” says Graham Burgess. “They are not only building their first home, but they’re also making a significant contribution to their local community. Our students come from all over Otago, and one of the things I particularly like about this project is that the money raised benefits the whole region.”

The charity house also offers potential buyers more bang for their buck. Because it is designed with a raft of training opportunities in mind, it has more features than would ordinarily be found in similar types of houses.

This year’s spacious and tastefully appointed four-bedroom home comes complete with an en suite and walk-in wardrobe for the master bedroom. Fitted and furnished with state-of-the-art appliances and fixtures, the home is impeccably modern and stylish.

This year’s sponsors are: Metro Realty; RadioWorks; Aotea Electric; Philips Lighting; Schneider Electric; Ideal South; Dulux; InsulPro; The Dunedin Training Centre; Kitchens for Less; Active Furnishers; Fulton Hogan; Bedpost; Fisher & Paykel; Placemakers; Oakleys; Barry Dell Plumbing; Carpet Court; Warwick Grimmer; Makeovers; Barlow Justice.

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