A Central Lakes Trust (CLT) grant will assist in building a much needed service hub for the Wakatipu region, says Salvation Army’s, Jade Zeina.

$350,000 was granted to Salvation Army at the Trust’s recent board meeting, held Monday 16 August, one of 15 grants approved at the meeting to a total value of $620,075.

“We are all over the moon with the funding and feeling extremely grateful,” Ms Zeina says.

“This puts us very close to our funding goal having raised a total of $8.4m of the $9.4m build cost.”

The new Salvation Army facility is to be built at Remarkables Park in Frankton, and will provide below market rate office space for social services the Salvation Army work with as well as a community theatre, all identified as key issues affecting the Wakatipu area.

The new 783m2 purpose-built facility is spread over two storeys with Salvation Army operating all their services from the ground floor, and the social services they work with out of the first floor.

CLT Grant Manager, Mat Begg says, “Prior to COVID-19, the Salvation Army in Queenstown were already dealing with a steady increase in demand. Last year they saw a 300% increase in demand with hundreds of people using their services for the first time. A purpose-built facility for their multiple services, will make delivery of their services more streamlined.”

Ms Zeina says much consultation went into choosing the site and the design of the new hub.

“Massive growth in the district’s population over the past 12 years has seen a shift in population from the central area of Queenstown to the Frankton area, this means locating the hub at Frankton, just makes sense. We need to be where the population is,” she says.

Ms Zeina says, “The CLT grant is significant for us and will be instrumental in helping complete our fit-for-purpose social wellbeing hub on the first floor, which will be home to other likeminded social agencies. This grant will not only have an impact on Salvation Army, but will help other organisations that are struggling with high rents. Together, we will be able to deliver a holistic approach to community care for generations.

It will also provide a multi-purpose room for community groups to run workshops and classes, as well as a meeting room for smaller needs like video conferencing.

QLDC’s Quality of Life survey identified a lack of community halls and spaces in our region. The hub design will incorporate an auditorium for a seated audience of up to 150 guests for small scale drama or music productions with movable staging, quality sound and lighting systems and a modern kitchen.

“This should go some way to catering to the lack of community hall space,” she says.

Since the Trust commenced 21 years ago, it has granted over $125 million back into the community. A total of $6.86 million of the $9.60 million grants budget for the 2021/22 financial year has been allocated to date.