$1.4 Million CSS Facility Could Open Next Year

A $1.4 million addition to Catholic Social Services’ family support services footprint in south Dunedin could open next year.

Catholic Social Services director Mike Tonks said the social work and counseling organization had raised $900,000 as part of an ongoing fundraising campaign for a stand-alone building to complement existing offices in the neighboring building of St Patrick’s School at Macandrew Rd.

Resource consent had been granted for the project at a nearby Broughton Street site and the organization was completing drafts of a building permit application.

The goal was to start construction in October and open the new facility early next year, he said.

The organization would not leave its current space but the halls there were already full.

“And that makes it more difficult for us to provide our services.”

The organization’s footprint expansion project began after receiving donations from the J. Barker Eames Estate and the Judy Egerton Estate, followed by funding from the Otago Community Trust, Alexander Macmillan Trust and AAW Jones Trust.

But he still hoped to raise another $500,000 for the project, Mr. Tonks said.

“It’s part of the work of hope and prayer,” he said. “We have a few options, but we are still fundraising.”

Catholic Social Services provided counseling for individuals, couples and children, with counseling for children available at the current center but also at 20 schools in Otago and South Otago, he said. .

He has helped fathers navigate parenthood, supported young mothers, and supported relationships, including everything from nutritional counseling for parents to helping families deal with domestic violence.

“Dunedin should be a great place to be a kid and that’s not always the case and if we can support that…that’s what we want to do,” Mr Tonks said.