Charity House to be auctioned today

Now in its sixth year, Otago Polytechnic's Charity House project looks set to pass the $500,000 mark in funds raised for Otago charities after the latest house is auctioned today.

Under the initiative, polytechnic carpentry students build a house for auction, with the profits donated to more than 30 local charities. So far, the scheme has raised about $465,000, with today's auction set to bring the total to more than half a million dollars.

This year's four-bedroom home comes complete with an en-suite and walk-in wardrobe for the master bedroom and is fitted and furnished with state-of-the-art appliances and fixtures.

It was built on campus in Dunedin to maximise learning opportunities for the students, two-thirds of whom had no building experience when they started the task.

Polytechnic carpentry programme manager Graham Burgess said the success of the initiative was a "real credit to the students and staff involved".

"There's a real sense of achievement and satisfaction for the students, especially when they attend the open homes and hear people comment on the exceptional standard of the properties, " Mr Burgess said.

Sponsorship from local business was also key to the project's success, he said.

"These relationships mean a larger profit from the sale of the house which, in turn, means more money for donation," he said,The auction starts at 2pm today, at the polytechnic's L Block on Anzac Ave.

The Charity House initiative won this year's excellence in community engagement award from the Australasian Association for Tertiary Education

vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz