House tailor-made for needs of family

With just a week to go, organisers are confident all will be ready for a charity house to be built for a Kaitangata family.

"Operation Owen" is a project to build a purpose-built home for Jodie and Terry Owen, of Kaitangata, whose two daughters, Charli (7) and Meg (3), have undiagnosed cerebella ataxia.

The condition affects the girls' co-ordination and balance, and makes them tire easily.

Both girls have walking frames they use outside the house, and for longer distances Charli has a wheelchair and Meg a buggy.

Friends Derek and Kylie Craig, of Cromwell, decided to organise the charity project to give the Owens a purpose-built home, and have been working with a committee to raise funds and collect donated building supplies.

Mr Craig said he was working to organise builders to run shifts during the build at Labour weekend.

"There's a lot to do, but we're getting there. We're at the business end of things now."

Companies and individuals were beginning to send building materials to South Otago in preparation.

Mr Craig said fundraising was "pretty close" to meeting targets, but hoped some last-minute donations would be made, and plans were being made for a large raffle to be run soon.

Most of the materials for the house had been donated to the project, but materials for a deck, landscaping and concreting were still required.

"We're focusing on building the house for now and we'll work out the rest once the house is built."

In August and September, contractors gave their time to the project, working to level the section in preparation for construction and creating a driveway.

Mr Craig is designing the house, and the Owens have worked with him to ensure the house suits their needs.

The house design includes wider doorways so Charli and Meg can use their walkingframes inside, cavity sliding doors and handrails throughout.

Mr Craig plans to arrive in Kaitangata this weekend to do some of the foundation work before construction at Labour weekend, which would involve crews of about 20 builders working shifts over three days.

Construction will take place at the Kaitangata rugby grounds from October 19 to 22, and the house will be transported to a section in the township owned by the Owens.

A smaller group would spend the following few weeks finishing off the house.

Any money left over from the project will go towards landscaping or into a trust for Charli and Meg.

Helping out
How you can contribute
Assist with building: Builders/businesses contact Derek Craig 027 561-0596 or Roger Owen 027 418-1113.
Donations: ANZ account "Operation Owen: The Community Build" 01-0914-0067076-00.


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