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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Chch students launch Habitat for Humanity

Chch students launch Habitat for Humanity

Wed, 22 Jun 2011 4:25a.m.
Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) trades students will help launch a Habitat for Humanity project in Christchurch today.

The year-long project, which will repair uninsured earthquake-damaged homes, will kick off with a church hall upgrade at the Baptist Church in the eastern suburb of Wainoni, where the project will be based.

The church is also offering two houses on its grounds to accommodate the Habitat for Humanity volunteers.

Habitat for Humanity project manager for Christchurch rebuild Paul Galbraith says teams of six to 10 volunteers with a mixed skill base will each spend two weeks repairing homes in the eastern suburbs of Christchurch. 

However, the first step is getting the kitchen facilities and accommodation ready for the volunteers, which is where 16 plumbing students from CPIT are stepping in.

Mr Galbraith says trying to find a plumber in Christchurch at the moment is almost impossible - “you might as well go out and find some hens’ teeth” – but approached Craig Wenmonth, South Island coordinator for the Apprenticeship Training Trust, who works closely with CPIT’s Trades Innovation Institute.

“Everyone is flat out in the industry,” Wenmouth said. “So I thought, ‘how about some experience for pre-trade students?”

CPIT Trades Innovation Institute head of school Neville Ward says the institute was “only too happy to respond” to the call for tradespeople.

“It’s good experience for our students and there is the added bonus of knowing that we are supporting the community,” he says.

Habitat for Humanity will give priority to the disabled, elderly and single parents who did not have insurance and cannot afford to repair their homes.

Mr Galbraith acknowledged industry support for the project, including donated materials and labour, and says Habitat for Humanity is not trying to compete with the building industry but support it.

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