Ratepayers fork out $4000 for community kitchen after stalemate broken

The Northgate Community Services Trust meals cater for up to 80 people, a number the trust plans...
The Northgate Community Services Trust meals cater for up to 80 people, a number the trust plans to expand. Photo: Supplied
Members of a Christchurch community board have grappled over whether ratepayers should be funding a community kitchen.

Emma Norrish.
Emma Norrish.
The Northgate Community Services Trust applied for $15,000 from the Papanui-Innes Community Board’s discretionary response fund, but some board members believed the Government should be paying for the upgrade to the kitchen, which is based in Papanui.

But the issue was decided by board chairwoman Emma Norrish, whose two votes – one as a board member and one as chair – broke a stalemate to give $4000 in funding the green light.

The board lowered the grant from the staff recommended sum of $6000 because members were concerned about the amount of money left in the fund.

The trust currently runs a community kitchen, which feeds up to 80 people at its free weekly community dinners in which volunteers also socialise with those attending.

The trust aims to expand its services with a $126,000 kitchen upgrade, giving the kitchen commercial capacity.

“They’re looking at becoming more self-sufficient through this initial cost, and I think we need to support that,” Norrish said.

The trust knew the community well and knew the needs of the people it catered to, she said.

Board member Pauline Cotter also supported the grant.

“The work these people are doing in their local community is outstanding,” she said.

“It’s going to have a really good outcome and it’s going to last them for years.”

However, board member Ali Jones said she was against granting the funding because she believed the kitchen’s price tag was excessive and there was a far greater need elsewhere in the community.

“I just think we’re getting outside what we should be doing here.”

The Northgate Community Services Trust has received a grant of $4000 from the Papanui-Innes...
The Northgate Community Services Trust has received a grant of $4000 from the Papanui-Innes Community Board towards a major kitchen upgrade. Photo: Supplied
She believed the trust would be able to raise the funds it needed without the board’s help.

Board member Emma Twaddell also voted against the grant, saying it put the community board in the role of an ambulance at the bottom of the hill.

“We don’t have a huge amount of money and its community funding. I see a lot of that going into social services, which is a government role,” she said.

Trust cafe co-ordinator Mel Calles said the contribution was appreciated.

“It’s fantastic – it’s helping move towards that bigger vision.”

The current plan was to renovate the area around Christmas time, providing funding was secured, she said.

During the meeting, the community board also approved a grant of $6000 to the Christchurch Football Club towards water leak repairs.

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