24 June 2015
You helped put Cholmondeley back on the map
“The huge amount of voluntary time put in by our fundraising committee, the tremendous generosity of some extraordinary people, and the wider public are what have made this rebuild possible”
As scheduled, the new Cholmondeley Children's Centre was completed on time and within budget. Events to mark the grand opening will include an open day for the public on 10 October, giving the whole Canterbury community an opportunity to see first-hand the results of their generous support.
The $6.5 million facility, built to replace original buildings lost in the Canterbury earthquakes, was funded using $2.5 million in insurance money, with the remaining $4 million coming from the community through Cholmondeley’s Back on the Map capital fundraising campaign. Major contributors were The Lion Foundation, CEAT (Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust), and New Zealand Community Trust, who together contributed over $1 million to the rebuild.
Since March 2011, Cholmondeley had been operating on split sites, utilising the care facilities at Living Springs while the administration block was adapted for the use of Cholmondeley staff and the children’s education activities. Considering the challenges of the last four years associated with operating from two locations, as well as simultaneously fundraising for rebuild and operational costs, there has been minimal disruption to the service. The centre will close for one week from 20 July to allow the service to fully relocate to the new buildings at Governors Bay before resuming business as usual.
The only major works performed at Cholmondeley over the previous 90 years were the addition of the dormitory wing in 1993 and the administration block in 2008. While the original homestead and its additions served well for almost a century, their loss in the earthquakes has meant an opportunity for Cholmondeley to create a truly fit-for-purpose environment that will cater better to children’s needs today.
During the design phase, a child-centred approach was taken. The aim has been to make the new buildings a physical manifestation of Cholmondeley’s Philosophy of Care, a set of beliefs founded on children’s rights which underpin all aspects of Cholmondeley’s practice.
The new building incorporates:
Integration of care and education — the entire building designed as a ubiquitous learning environment.
Community and safety — open plan spaces with minimal use of right-angles where children can be lost or disappear.
Privacy — individual space for ablutions, bedrooms that can be reconfigured, and alcoves to relax or read in.
Emotional safety — a building that is non-institutional and warm in its design.
Children at the forefront — unique design features such as windows, seating, door handles, benches and vanities built at heights appropriate for children.
Cost efficiency — insulation innovations, and thoughtful use of materials that require minimal maintenance.
Sustainability — use of local sustainable materials that complement the community we live in.
There is a sense of relief, accomplishment, and gratitude among Cholmondeley Board members and staff: “We are delighted to see the result of four years of discussion, debate, design, and much decision-making”, says Shane Murdoch, who also notes and appreciates the “widespread goodwill of all involved” during what was a highly complex project.
“The huge amount of voluntary time put in by our fundraising committee, the tremendous generosity of some extraordinary people, and the wider public are what have made this rebuild possible”, says Shane. “We look forward to hosting you all at the grand opening events in October.”