Many hands make house

Contractors work to level the Owen family section at Kaitangata yesterday. Photo by Helena de Reus.
Contractors work to level the Owen family section at Kaitangata yesterday. Photo by Helena de Reus.
Concert tickets have already sold out two weeks before the fundraising event for a new home for a Kaitangata family.

Jodie and Terry Owen, of Kaitangata, have two daughters, Charli (7) and Meg (3), who have undiagnosed cerebella ataxia, a condition which 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, have decided to organise a charity project to give the Owens a purpose-built home.

To help raise money to build the house, a concert and auction is being held in the Balclutha War Memorial Hall on September 1.

The event, hosted by comedian Steve Wrigley, will feature Kaitangata musicians Aaron Jury, Vickie Evans, and their band The Crescents.

Mr Jury said he was looking forward to the concert, which would have a "great mix of stuff" from the Kaitangata musicians.

"Terry and Jodie are wonderful people and very deserving of this [project]. They would do the same for anyone else."

Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan, a member of the committee organising the build, said the support for the concert and the build had been "phenomenal".

"Local businesses have really got in behind it."

Derek Craig said about $25,000 worth of items and services had been donated to be auctioned off or raffled.

"It's just been unreal.

"Random people have been calling up and offering different things. We'll be fundraising right up until the build but we're definitely on target so far."

He added that the concert would also have a few surprises in store.

They hope to raise about $40,000 at the concert.

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

Diggers and contractors have been on site since Thursday to level the section in preparation for the October build.

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

"We're concentrating on building the house itself, but we're open to doing some landscaping too, if anyone is keen to help with that."

Finding a house which had everything they needed was "virtually impossible", Mr Owen told the Otago Daily Times last month.

"Space is the biggest thing, really. With more space, the girls can have more independence. If everything is set up properly, then they can safely do things themselves."

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

Mr Craig planned 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.

Helping out
How you can help
Help 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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