An increase in cancer referrals from the district health board and an increasing demand for counselling in Kāpiti has resulted in an urgent response from the Cancer Society.
A new Kāpiti Support Centre is being opened at 27 Kāpiti Rd, Paraparaumu to meet the demand for support and care for those with cancer throughout the district.
With the incidence of cancer in New Zealand "exponentially" on the rise, the Ministry of Health has predicted an increase in the rate of cancer of up to 50 per cent by 2035. Since 2017, Kāpiti has had a 45 per cent increase in referrals from the district health boards and a demand for counselling that has almost doubled.
"The demand for cancer supportive care throughout Kāpiti continues to increase and it has become apparent there is an urgent need for a greater cancer society presence in this community," senior health promotion coordinator Mandy Savage said.
"With more than a quarter of Kāpiti residents over the age of 65 and more baby boomers choosing to live in the district, this trend is having an impact on Kāpiti's community."
Until now, the Cancer Society has been renting small, shop-front premises at Kāpiti Lights.
"This has not been ideal as it has not afforded rooms for private counselling, facilitating groups or adequate office and administration space to carry out day to day admin tasks."
The centre will provide a bigger space enabling more and all services to be done on the same site meaning less travel into Wellington.
"The support centre gives us larger and more appropriate space for patients and their whānau to receive local cancer support and information," Cancer Society Wellington Division chief executive Mike Smith said.
"We will have a support and information nurse on site to provide face to face support, rather than community members having to travel into Wellington.
"The new centre will provide space for private counselling rooms for patients, their families and space for regular cancer support groups to meet.
"It will also provide a hub for our amazing volunteers and we will continue to deliver health education and Sunsmart programmes to local businesses, schools and community groups."
The Cancer Society has bought the property, investing over $500,000, using funds from reserves and a bank loan.
As a registered charity with no government funding, a fundraising campaign will be launched later this month to repay the loan and reserves with $50,000 already in a grant from the Ray Watts Charitable Trust.
The project has been supported by many groups in the community already with MenzShed Kāpiti, Bernie Lynch from Pro Plumbing + Gas, Stan Juchnowicz from Zip Plumbing, Envirowaste, Mitre 10, Bunnings, Carters, and members of the NZ Police all contributing their time or services to make the support centre possible.
"It's been fantastic, the response from the community," Savage said.
"The guys from MenzShed have been doing the whole fitout and they have been amazing.
"It's very humbling. You only get to be part of something like this, building a community centre, once in your life.
"So it's a real privilege to be involved.
"There's enough stress involved in a cancer diagnosis or treatment as it is — this will be a one-stop shop and hopefully take away some of the stress."
The centre opens from December 2 with a formal celebration early next year.