Merivale services still open at same site

Manager Dave Merton clearing out the old centre that’s being stripped for a new Merivale Community Centre. Photo: John Borren.

Merivale Community Centre staff and volunteers are determined to keep their services running for those who need them – despite temporarily not having a building to operate from.

The 1940s bungalow that it has called home for the past 31 years has been stripped ahead of demolition.

Merivale Community Centre was founded in 1993 as a grassroots, community-led organisation at 10 Kesteven Ave.

“The centre will effectively be homeless for six weeks, so we’ll be working out of our community van – but on the same site as our old building at 10 Kesteven Ave – to provide kai as usual on Mondays and to ferry people to financial mentors and other support services,” says manager Dave Merton.

“The old building will be torn down the week starting July 15.”

He says staff and volunteers will also meet with teams from other agencies until they can shift into a temporary base on Surrey Grove from mid-August.

The Health Waka will also operate Friday nights at the Kesteven Ave site.

Dave says they’ve struggled for some time to host community events in the old building.

“We’ve outgrown it; in fact, we outgrew it years ago. It’s simply not fit for purpose because it’s elevated. People with mobility issues have had to be assisted inside and those on motorised scooters need to be handed food outside and can’t attend functions.”

Gemma Cramp and Belinda Lujan-Quilty looking over history of Merivale Community Centre at 10 Kesteven Ave. Photo: John Borren.

He’s thrilled the new centre – due for completion at the end of 2025 – will be single-level and three times the size.

The new 630m2 building will accommodate 175 people and include a reception area, kitchen, multi-functional community space, offices, private consultation rooms, a youth studio/music room, toilets and storage facilities.

There will be an outdoor area that includes an entry court, outdoor seating, outdoor recreation area and landscaped gardens.

The new facility is being funded by Tauranga City Council plus community grants from TECT, BayTrust and the Lottery Grants Board.

Merivale Community Centre was founded in 1993 as a grassroots, community-led organisation. Photo: John Borren.

“It will include a quarter-sized basketball court outside. We’re always bouncing balls here, shooting hoops is a big deal. It’s what draws rangatahi together.”

“The new centre will have outside toilets, shower and a community laundry that people in need can access any time of the day.”

 Anyone needing assistance can call: 07 578 6450 or: 0800 38 66 57 or search ‘Merivale Community Centre’ on Facebook.

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