Fresh start for Salvation Army (+video)

By Shauni James

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The "uplifting" new Rotorua Salvation Army Community Ministries building has been officially opened.

Corps officer Kylie Overbye said the building on the corner of Amohia and Haupapa Sts was a great location which would provide the opportunity to expand as the needs arose.

She said it would be more visible and accessible, as a lot of people it dealt with had no transport and there was a bus stop just outside.

"I'm really excited because of how we can better the people of our community here.

"We're excited for the future and the opportunities in the new building."

The organisation was forced to move from its previous home in Community House on Haupapa St after Rotorua Lakes Council decided to demolish the building.

Community Ministries manager and budget advisor Shelly Fischer said it had been a long process and "to finally be here is a bit like a dream".

She said it felt like a fresh start and the new building was more welcoming, respectful and had positive energy.

"It has been full on but we are there and I'm really excited for next week when we can just start."

Ms Fischer said feedback from clients had been positive and there had also been a number of people wanting to volunteer.

"It must be more of an uplifting place than the last place."

She as the new building was more than twice the size of their old one, the organisation had room to grow as it expanded its services.

Ms Fischer said they would be running an appointment-based service with the food bank now, so they could give people their attention and things weren't rushed, she said.

Kapenga M Trust trustee Wiremu Keepa said the trust leased the building to the Salvation Army and, as well as fulfilling its investment policy, it also helped them with its social ambitions to find the right tenants.

"With the Salvation Army it's a win-win situation."

Local MP Todd McClay said he thought it was a fantastic location and the Salvation Army was now more readily available.

"A huge congratulations to the Salvation Army team, volunteers and supporters.

"They do an amazing job, so many people's lives are better as a result of their dedication and hard work."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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