New whānau rooms in house

Cambridge Community House’s new whānau whare was officially blessed and opened last week, providing an easier working environment for one of the agency’s busier teams.

The four-roomed addition adds capacity to facilities at Cambridge Community House (CCH) and is the most recent in a series of renovations aimed at accommodating an ever-increasing workload.

The agency provides numerous social services within the community, including counselling, financial mentoring, and alcohol and drug counselling.

Waipā deputy mayor Liz Stolwyk cutting the ribbon at Cambridge Community House’s new whare with CCH whānau team leader Jamie Kerr and CCH trustee Te Hiiri Taute looking on. Photo: Michael Jeans

Its whānau team leader Jamie Kerr said that until three months ago, team members were working out of one office with five desks.

“There were complexities associated with working in that environment … it offered no privacy for our clients,” he told guests at the opening.  “The team was more stretched than ever this year; there were many learnings and wins.  This new space brings benefits not only in a physical sense, but more importantly in our ability to care for people.”

CCH manager Gabby Byrne said the three distinct buildings making up CCH as it is today came from a ‘journey of change’ as the agency responded to emerging needs.  The original villa was built in the early 1900s, a portable classroom relocated to the site in 2010, and a large L-shaped renovation was added in 2020.

“Even with all that expansion, we still needed to build a purpose-built whare for our whānau support team.”

Enjoying a ‘teamwork’ moment after last week’s opening of the new whare are CCH general manager Gabby Byrne with her Te Awamutu counterpart, Kainga Aroha Community House general manager Kane Rangitonga. Photo: Viv Posselt

She acknowledged Robb Marston, director of Leisurecom Cambridge, for his support from concept to completion of the project, adding that his team also raised $37,200 from their members and their contractors to give back to CCH.

“It is an amazing gesture of generosity and community spirit.  We have huge appreciation to them for backing our cause … your contribution is impactful and is needed in this community.”

Waipā deputy mayor Liz Stolwyk said the support given to CCH epitomised what makes the town special.

“Cambridge looks after its own,” she said.  “I know how important this facility is to Cambridge, how crucial it is as the town grows.”

CCH general manager Gabby Byrne speaking to guests outside the new whare. Looking on are the facility’s original manager Kiri Gray, left, with Leisurecom Cambridge director Robb Marston and Cambridge Community House Trust chair, Carolyn Casey, at right. Photo: Viv Posselt

A grateful Gabby Byrne, general manager of Cambridge Community House (CCH), embraces Leisurecom Cambridge director Robb Marston in appreciation for the hefty support the company gave CCH in the building of their new whanau support whare. Looking on is Cambridge Community House Trust chair, Carolyn Casey. Photo: Viv Posselt

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