Turning a Rotary dream into reality

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Rotary dream house. Photo: Supplied

THE dream is almost complete.

Building a house to help homeless people has been an ongoing project since its inception almost three years ago.

The brainchild of Rotary Invercargill North club member Richard Boyde-Manson, the Rotary Dream House in Grasmere, Invercargill, once complete will be auctioned in the new year, with the proceeds to go the Breathing Space Southland Trust, which supports homeless people and provides short-term accommodation.

Six Rotary clubs from throughout Invercargill have joined together, along with volunteers, suppliers and tradespeople, to build the house.

Sunrise club member Graeme Hegan said it was pleasing to see all the city’s Rotary clubs backing the project.

“It has been exciting to see all the clubs, including the newest, Next Rotary Generation, work together on the project.”

Using their business connections and labouring skills, Rotarians have encouraged volunteers, as well as suppliers, tradespeople and businesses to keep prices as low as possible to ensure as much profit as possible would be donated to the trust.

“The generosity of the people and businesses of Invercargill has been so great. It has been appreciated and quite humbling,” Mr Hegan said.

Project committee member Dave McKissock, of Invercargill South Rotary, who has co-ordinated the volunteers, said all sorts of people and businesses had supported the project, “with more than 60 businesses and companies so far”, and “well over 900 volunteer hours”.

SBS Bank chief executive Shaun Drylie said the bank had been approached early on by a group of Rotarians to fund the project.

“It speaks to how we [SBS] started 148 years ago as a business and was a really nice connection with who we [SBS] are.”

SBS president (1869-1899) James Walker Bain wanted the society to be based on the principle of mutual help among its members, rather than cut-throat competition for loan money, and wanted to help every person own their own home.

“We help people build homes in Southland… and it was a way to give back to really needy people in Southland [via the Breathing Space Trust],” Mr Drylie said.

Mr Drylie said the SBS team, including the executive team, had been to the house, some at the digging of the foundation, some during the roof shout and others as volunteers working on parts of the build.

“It is a real Southland project… with lots of people involved.”

Designed by architect Roger Beattie, property developer Callum Rutledge is the construction manager.

A builder for more than 14 years, he established Rutledge Developments Ltd in 2012.

Well-known among the rugby community Mr Rutledge, who along with his brothers Jason, a drain layer and gas fitter, of Lazer Plumbing, and Andrew, of Rutledge Electrical, established Rutledge Trade Group to provide a one-stop-shop for tradespeople and had combined their talents to work on the house.

“A builder, a plumber and an electrician… when it comes to building, we are the whole package,” Mr Rutledge said.

Mr Hegan spoke highly of Mr Rutledge, his organising skills and work, saying he had gone “above and beyond”.

The house contains three bedrooms, an office, living area, and an open-plan kitchen and dining area, with an attached double garage and outdoor patio area.

Asked why he took on the project, Mr Rutledge said it was a unique opportunity to get a lot of the community together and work on a project for a good cause.

“All the suppliers have gotten on board… and all the tradies.”

At this stage, the inside of the house needed to be finished, and work on the outside, including drainage and landscaping.

Mr Hegan said he hoped the house would be complete before Christmas before it would be open as a show home and then put up for sale about February.

The public, those who had worked on-site, suppliers, volunteers, tradespeople and anyone who had a connection with the house were welcome to look through the property during the four-week show home period, before it was put on show for another four weeks to potential buyers, he said.

“It will give people an opportunity to see what they have contributed to the project.”

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