Volunteers create health centre

Health Minister David Clark (front) attends the opening of Te Kaika Brockville on Saturday with ...
Health Minister David Clark (front) attends the opening of Te Kaika Brockville on Saturday with (from left) Ken Foote, Dr Kim Maiai, Donna Matahaere-Atariki, Barbara Warren, Paul Clements, Dr Alison Gatson and Albie Laurence. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Te Kaika could offer lessons for the Dunedin Hospital rebuild as volunteers create a Brockville community health and social services hub from scratch in 10 weeks.

The new clinic, in the Brockville Community Church, was officially opened at an event on Saturday.

It provides health and social services for everyone, including those on low incomes.

This includes affordable GPs and nurses as well as social workers, Whanau Ora navigators, and workers from Work and Income, Well Child Tamariki Ora and the Suicide Prevention Trust.

An Arabic-speaking social worker will help refugees and other migrants.

This adds to the project’s first hub in Caversham and a clinic it bought in Forbury.Te Kaika executive officer Albie Laurence said volunteers helped to halve the estimated cost of the project to fit within its $60,000 budget.

"It was really community-driven."

Dunedin men Ken Foote and Paul Clements recruited people and businesses they knew to get cheap or free work on everything from painting to electrical jobs.

Overall, there  an estimated 400 hours of volunteer time had gone into the project.

Founding director Donna Matahaere-Atariki said the project took two and a-half months from start to finish.

"Which is a lot faster than any government or DHB."

The need was seen in Brockville as it had a large retired population and "very little infrastructure".

In a speech at the opening Health Minister David Clark said the clinic was making healthcare "more accessible to everybody".

"It can be a challenge to get into town, when the buses aren’t running at the right time, or if the car has broken down, or whatever it is.

"When I see projects like this that are achieving the type of things I think we need to achieve in our health system, it warms my heart."

The project started with the opening of the Caversham hub in March and won a Dame Tariana Turia Award in September.

The first two centres had had 7000 people through their doors since opening.Te Kaika is a partnership between Arai Te Uru Whare Hauora, Otakou Runanga and the University of Otago.

jono.edwards@odt.co.nz

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