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Supporting the rebuild and recovery of Christchurch and its surrounds is a long process that calls for fresh thinking. Recognising the unprecedented challenges that face the South Island’s largest city, The Tindall Foundation has made its Canterbury Earthquakes Recovery fund both long term and flexible.
Initially, emergency relief was prioritised. Now reconstruction and goodwill services are a focus, from community gardens where residents can meet and work together, to the creative use of vacant spaces by Gap Filler Trust.
Another recipient group is CanCERN (Canterbury Communities’ Earthquake Recovery Network). Set up by local residents’ groups after the September 2010 quake, CanCERN facilitates interactions with insurers, the Earthquake Commission and other government agencies, helping people to find and, where possible, co-create solutions to their needs.
“The Tindall Foundation, through our relationship with Dave Richards, has realistically identified that the needs in Canterbury post-disaster are very different to a ‘normal’ environment and therefore require a different funding relationship,” said CanCERN Projects Manager Brian Parker.
‘Fast-moving’ is a good way to describe CanCERN’s recent Let’s Find and Fix initiative. Coordinating efforts with recovery agencies, insurers and claims management services, in early 2014 CanCERN helped put in place temporary repairs to hundreds of damaged homes before the onset of a fourth post-earthquake winter.
The network moved out of its usual advocacy role to support this more practical project, which needed to be organised quickly. “We heard from families who were truly thankful that their homes were warmer, safer and healthier in the winter,” Parker reported.
“We will continue to address the needs of those who are still in this ‘stuck’ situation,” added Dave Richards. “But also we have passed the response phase and are now moving more towards recovery and regeneration projects.”
Areas of focus going forward include affordable housing and supporting initiatives that build resilience in the community. Dave highlighted the activities of the Project Lyttelton group in encouraging self-reliance in this heavily damaged settlement:
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