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New premises for Queenstown’s domestic violence workers are taking shape – thanks to local businesses chipping in thousands of dollars worth of materials and labour.

The Wakatipu Abuse Prevention Network’s six staff – plus numerous volunteers – are bulging out of their existing Man Street office building and in desperate need of their new digs on Ballarat Street.

WAPN’s growth in staff numbers comes on the back of a rising caseload – it went from 179 people for the June 2007 year to 296 for the 2008 year.

Their new Ballarat St site – a former school house now owned by Queenstown Lakes District Council – boasts five rooms, a decent backyard and kitchen space.

A volunteer team led by building company RBJ Ltd has been busy renovating, leaving WAPN boss Tina Mongston confident she and her team will be able to move in early next year.

“From our perspective it’s absolutely fantastic that they have donated time and labourers and equipment and material. It’s saved thousands.

“Otherwise, we would have been moving into it as it was and it wasn’t up to standard.”

The ball started rolling on the project when WAPN volunteer Carolyne Johnston rang RBJ co-owners Peter and Paul Rogers months ago to ask who she might call for help.

Johnston: “Timing is everything. Paul said he and Peter had just been talking about wanting to do a project for the community.”

From there RBJ roped in a crew – paid at their own expense – and they converged on Ballarat St for several working bees.

RBJ’s Paul Rogers says: “We all just got together for a couple of days and nailed it.”

Placemakers sales rep Mark Littleton says they were happy to provide RBJ with whatever was needed.
“We were pretty keen to chip in for a good cause and it’s good for the community.”

Plenty of work is still to be done, including fencing off the yard so it’s safe for children.

Mongston also says anyone who has a spare lawn mower and weedeater that they’re wanting rid of or sold should get in touch.

She’s also after a small gardening shed to store implements and tools.