This was no Hollywood brow lift or tummy tuck. This humble request involved a building with a lot of heart, in serious need of a makeover to make it sparkle again.  
When the combined Rotary Clubs of Rotorua Charitable Trust received an appeal to help provide funding for a facelift, we jumped in whole-heartedly; as we do with most projects we put our hands to.
But, no, this was no Hollywood brow lift or tummy tuck. This humble request involved a building with a lot of heart, in serious need of a makeover to make it sparkle again.  
In 1982 St Chads Centre became a private enterprise on its way to developing into something quite special: the base for a community of people with intellectual disabilities, with the aim of developing their independence, choice and meaningful community participation.
Anyone who has lived in Rotorua for even the shortest time will know the quiet, unassuming little building on the corner of Fenton and Devon Streets for its cheery gardens lining this busy corner of our city. While the name has been retained from the small wooden church built in the 1920s, St Chads Centre has evolved to be the Life-skills Hub we know it today.
In 1999 a centre manager began reporting to a board of trustees who set the strategic direction and to provide overall governance. Nine full-time equivalent positions assist manager Nicky Mayne, and each month 200 to 300 volunteer hours are delivered by approved members of the Rotorua community to nearly 70 adults aged 16 to 64.
While government provides just over half of the operating costs of the organisation, the remainder of funding comes from the generosity of the community by way of grants, partnerships, donations and social enterprise.
The organisation is unique to Rotorua in that it is delivered by Rotorua for people in Rotorua.
“St Chads has always been reliant on the generosity of so many in the Rotorua community who enable us to support our members to live great lives,” says Nicky. “Ongoing support from the Rotary Club of Rotorua Sunrise and the connections they have in the wider community is hugely appreciated.”
Recently, St Chads realised a whole lot of painting was needed both inside and outside of their beloved old building – and its subsequent additions – but their pocketbook didn’t stretch far enough to cover the costs of paint, labour, scaffolding, and other related expenses.
St Chads received a generous grant from the combined Rotary Clubs of Rotorua Charitable Trust from money that was raised through our trust’s annual Charitable Luncheon to paint the buildings. The Rotary Club of Rotorua Sunrise who have had a long association with St Chads then offered to provide the labour to paint the exterior of the buildings at St Chads as the grant was not sufficient to cover the cost of a full repaint.
The Rotary Club of Rotorua Sunrise prepared a written proposal outlining the scope of the work to paint the building, projected cost, mitigation of identified risks, and the management of health and safety. We also offered to provide the labour. The Board of St Chads happily accepted.
The insurance cover provided by Rotary District 9930 for projects of this nature was also utilised.
We then set to work enlisting the various professional services and equipment needed for the facelift. Tony Payne, owner of The Renovators Painters & Decorators Ltd, provided his professional advice at no cost, as well as a significant amount of equipment.
The building’s exterior was washed free of charge by Sunrise Rotary Club member Roger Hall, owner of Chemwash in Rotorua.
“We feel that as we live in the local community we have a responsibility to be involved”, says Roger. “As a family, we have got a lot out of our community, so it is good to be able to give something back, almost like paying it forward, by doing something for others”.
Scaffolding was required for some of the building’s higher faces, and this was donated by Euro Scaffold Solutions Rotorua.
Once we had our ducks in a row, it was time for that facelift. It took Sunrise Rotary Club members roughly 500 hours over the weekends in September and October 2017 to apply approximately 120 litres of paint to St Chads and complete stage one.
Stage two – a much smaller job requiring about 120 hours of labour, including painting the buildings next door to the main site was also completed, after work was undertaken in February and March 2018.
We welcomed our morning tea and lunch breaks, provided by our members keen to sustain us – or ensure the job got done without any hungry protests. In fact, the entire project went without incident, apart from the weather which decided we needed at least a spritz of rain almost every day we painted.
Maree Kinder, President of Rotary Rotorua Sunrise says, “St Chads is a unique place for disabled people in our community and being able to contribute to their development by upgrading their facilities is a privilege for Sunrise Rotary”.
This was a significant project to undertake but we supported each other well to achieve the task and proudly completed the project to a high standard and significantly under budget. St Chads now has a beautiful fresh face for its clients, their families, and passers-by to enjoy for the next decade or more.
For further information contact:
Sue Gunn
Rotary Rotorua Sunrise
Mobile: 021 190 4011