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Otago charities receive boost from Polytechnic

Otago charities receive boost from Polytechnic’s Charity House

The $80,000 raised by Otago Polytechnic’s 2011 Charity House project will be distributed to a range of Otago charitable organisations tomorrow evening.

The nationally-coordinated fundraising effort, United Way, is holding its annual Otago Donations Function at Otago Polytechnic at 5.30pm on Thursday 9 August. It has allocated $170,000 worth of grants $80,000 of those coming by way of the Charity House project.

Representatives from all of the 29 chosen charities will attend the function: Alzheimers Society Otago; Carers’ Society Otago; ChatBus Trust; Citizens’ Advice Bureau; Community Networks Wanaka; Connections Trust; Corpac Trust; Cromwell Youth Worker Trust; Disability Information Service; Dunedin Community Transport Trust; Dunedin Night Shelter Trust; English Language Partners Dunedin; Enterprise Clutha Trust; Happiness House; Heartland Otago Southland Life Education Trust; ME Information and Support Service; Otago Children’s Autism Support Group; Pioneer Resources and Opportunities Trust; Queenstown Lakes Family Centre; Rape Crisis Dunedin; Regeneration Trust; Sherwood Centre Charitable Trust; Southern Cross Kids Camps NZ; Te Whare Pounamu Dunedin Women’s Refuge; The Brain Injury Association (Otago); The Family Network; Uruuruwhenua Health; Volunteer Otago Trust; Waiareka Youth & Ministry Trust.

The amount each receives is kept confidential, but all donations are to be used for operational costs. United Way’s Chief Executive, Don Oliver, explains: “It’s often easier for charities to get funding for purchasing equipment or other one-off items, than for day-to-day running costs. That’s where we come in.”

Otago Polytechnic’s Charity House project is a community collaboration now in its sixth year. Each year’s house is built on campus by Carpentry students, under the guidance of their lecturers.

“At least two-thirds of the students have no prior building experience when they start the task,” says Building Programme Manager, Graham Burgess. “It’s a real credit to them. When they see the finished product there’s a real sense of achievement and satisfaction.”

The students finish the house to lock-up stage, when it’s ready for interior finishing touches. In 2011, 23 businesses donated time, materials, craftsmanship and advertising to complete the house. Once each house is finished, a public auction is held and all money raised is distributed through United Way.

“The input of these sponsor businesses is invaluable,” says Graham Burgess. “Without it, the amount available for donation would be reduced by about 50%.”

Since its inception, Otago Polytechnic’s Charity House project has raised more than $440,000 for United Way to donate to Otago charities. Don Oliver says United Way’s partnership with Otago Polytechnic over the past five years has significantly boosted the pool of funds disseminated in Otago.

“It’s a wonderful and valuable relationship that continues to deepen and strengthen,” he says. “Yesterday, I spoke to the Carpentry students who are currently building the 2012 Charity House, to highlight the ongoing benefit of what they’re doing. Because of their efforts, money is poured back into their local community the students experience first-hand the rewards of giving back.”

Sponsors of the 2011 Otago Polytechnic Charity House: Kitchens for Less; Barlow Justice; Metro; Ideal South; Bedpost; MoreFM; Warwick Grimmer; Phillips; Makeovers; Active Furnishers; Wrens; Dunedin Training Centre; Schneider Electric; Aotea Electric; Fulton Hogan; Barry Dell Plumbers; Carpet Court; Fisher & Paykel; Placemakers; Oakleys; Dulux; Diamond Roofing.


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