Building gifted to the city

Building gifted to the city

A building generously gifted from Lions Clubs International (LCI) to the Christchurch City Council will allow Shirley residents more freedom in community activities.

Lions, council and community representatives gathered in Macfarlane Park to witness the hand over and blessing of the building on Friday.

Former Lions International president Al Brandel, who was in town for the district convention in New Brighton over the weekend, said it was key for groups like Lions to help governments in disaster response.

He said he was proud to be present to see something tangible happen for a community hit by the earthquake.

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"To the most important people, the people of this community, we present to you a gift," Brandel said.

Council would lease the building to the Shirley Community Trust (SCT) and it was expected to open after landscaping work was completed in July.

SCT chair Graeme Mitchell said the range of groups operating out of the existing building — behind the new one — had grown quickly after taking in those who had lost their facilities.

"We've just had no room after the earthquakes. We've been bursting at the seams. This [building] is an absolute Godsend."

Mitchell said there were "over 20 projects a week running" in the current building, including foot clinics, health and parenting courses, youth groups, dance groups, driving classes, food banks and after school groups.

Every Friday the SCT also ran the Macfarlane on the Park Cafe, a volunteer run cafe which offered hospitality training to help people find work.

"[This new building] will be a tāonga for the community. There are already many groups lining up to use it," Mitchell said.

Previously, the building had been used as a transitional community centre by the St Albans Residents Association. It had been in place for five years until construction of the new community centre was confirmed.

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