Opinion: Time to count our blessings

Community House

By Harriet Dixon, general manager, Cambridge Community House

Let’s face it, it’s been a bit of a tough year. Some have had it harder than others. At Cambridge Community House we’ve seen first-hand the different ways people have struggled with the changes forced on all of us.

From the complex spectrum of mental health impacts to the basic human needs for food and shelter, the team here has helped our community come through all kinds of difficulties. I’ve been privileged to watch my colleagues – many of whom are volunteers – rise to the challenge, dealing with the needs of families who walk through our doors every day.

As is often the way, the hardest circumstances bring about the best responses, and these have reminded me to count our blessings. Looking back over 2020 we have achieved a lot.

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our builder, Josh from Kit Markin Homes, the purpose-built extension to Cambridge Community House is finished, despite the best efforts of a pandemic and winter to slow it down. The completion of this incredible facility is a momentous achievement for our organisation and the community that made it possible.

After months of working from home, porta-cabins and tired, cramped premises, we are already seeing the rewards the new building is bringing. A commercial grade kitchen will enable us to teach some core cooking skills to those who need a hand to get by on a tight budget. Our new school uniform room, with donated racking and fittings from Rachelle at Wardrobe World, will be busy in January as our volunteers prepare donated school clothing ready for the next academic year. And most of all, our community can come to a secure and welcoming environment to get the support they need.

Getting here has been a long process, started well before my own time – I just celebrated my two-year anniversary at Cambridge Community House. It has been driven by the will of people who care and supported by local donors, including Rotary and the Cambridge Community Charitable Trust. Contributions have come from all over the community, people giving what they could manage and bolstered by funding support from Waipa District Council, Lotteries and Trust Waikato.

Early next Wednesday morning it all becomes official. We’ll host a blessing ceremony and declare the new building open. Early next year, we’ll have a community open day where everyone will be welcome to explore our new building, what services we offer, giving us a chance to say thanks once again for your incredible support.

It is support we continue to seek from our community, with locals supporting locals. At this time of year, we are busy helping people and their families get through the holiday period with the support they need. Sometimes this is weekly food, or maybe a gift or two to put a smile on a child’s face on Christmas Day. For others it is about ensuring a continuity of service for those most in need, to manage their addictions, anxiety or depression.

Whatever their needs, we’re doing our best to help. You can help too. If you have a little extra available this December, consider making a donation to directly support your local community. You can donate funds straight into the BNZ account for Cambridge Community House Trust 02-0300-0053796-025.

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