Clubs combine for ambitious project

INVERCARGILL’S six Rotary clubs have combined in an ambitious project to raise money for a city trust working with the homeless.
Two homes will be built over the next few months and, once sold, the proceeds will boost the coffers of the Breathing Space Trust, which supports homeless people and provides short-term accommodation.
‘‘We’re raising the money locally to help local people, and that’s what Rotary is about,’’ Sunrise club member Graeme Hegan said.
Two different styles of home would be built, a four-bedroom family home and an ‘‘empty nesters’’ home with a guest wing. Construction was expected to begin in August.
Rotarians would use their business connections and labouring skills to ensure the houses were completed for the best price possible, Invercargill North club member and project instigator Richard Boyde-Manson said.
‘‘Our thought was to use some of the professional skills and all of [our] connections, rather than use our time to sell raffle tickets or sausages. It’s not only going to be great fun to do, it has the potential to do something good for Invercargill, which is the cool thing.’’
Mr Hegan said the fundraising target was $150,000-$200,000.
‘‘We think it could be achievable, but a few things have got to fall into place. It depends on the housing market, and how much the people supplying the goods get on board.’’
There had been an excellent response so far, he said.
‘‘It’s exciting. Local companies are offering to supply at very attractive rates, if not for free.’’
Mr Boyde-Manson said more suppliers, tradespeople, and offers of labour were needed.
‘‘Every dollar we can save there is a dollar which goes to help the homeless.’’
It was pleasing to see all the city’s Rotary clubs backing the project, Mr Hegan said.
Five Invercargill clubs — another has chartered since — first worked together on the 2014 ‘‘Man versus Woman’’ challenge organised by Spirit of a Nation brand manager Gerry Forde. It raised $73,000 for various charities.
That fundraiser worked so well the clubs decided to combine again on a bigger project, he said.