IT'S ALL GO!
Life at the Retreat steams ahead. Every day we receive new inquiries from a wide range of people, as well as agencies and offers of support. There is huge need in our community and it is heartening to see the equally huge desire from so many to get involved and make a difference.
We have a beautiful site out here on the Hurford Rd, but the change in weather does bring its challenges! A1 Homes have put all the finishing touches to the lodge and the Chapel and we are now eagerly awaiting the final Council sign off so that we can use the gorgeous log burner (gifted by Metrofires) in the lodge. It will make a lovely house extra cosy.
With thanks to the awesome A1 Team
Beauty lurks in the valleys....
The site will always be a work in progress as a gardener's work is never done! We are still enjoying some fresh produce from our vegetable gardens, although it is certainly a leaner time of year. And although the growing may have slowed, work in our gardens has not! Thanks to our 'Gardening Guru' there is much going on behind the scenes. Beautiful new ferns have been planted in Dragonfly valley and a generous donation of plants from Pukeiti means there will also be a rhodo patch and plenty of colour emerging later in the year.
Most exciting of all is that we are about ready to plant our orchard! With help and advice from Bena at Greenbridge, soil conditioning help from Russell at Return 2 Earth, pots from Betts & Bishop our fruit trees are ready to go. There will be a big working bee at the end of the month and we just can't wait to see the orchard develop into something beautiful. If you have any large stakes suitable for trees or tree ties, we would love to hear from you!
We are also saving all 1.5l plastic drink bottles to build us an upcycled greenhouse and plans are coming together for a serious compost bin system.... As we said, a gardener's work is never done :)
April has zipped by and we are almost at the end of May and so much has happened! Where to start with all that has been going on?!
As far as the grounds are concerned, I am delighted to say that A1 Homes have continued to be fantastic and the lodge was finished and ready for show on our opening day. Despite the heavy rainfall we had a wonderful turn out and were lucky enough to have Mike King cut our ceremonial ribbon and spoke about how communities taking action is the way forward. It was a great day - see photos below.
Work has continued on site and we now have 2 wonderful bridges thanks to Steve & Ann from Kaponga and some fabulous Spark volunteers. Plus, the Chapel inside has been finished. We are just working on the painting side of things.... Very soon we will start with the Kind hands painting - something we are particularly excited about. Please get in touch now if you would like to donate for a hand! A donation of $37 (or more!) gets you a handprinted painted on the chapel in your choice of colour with your choice of 2 words. Either email us or donate via our Give a Little page in the general donations and put your choices in the comments.
Since we opened we have been flooded with enquiries from concerned family members, individuals aware they need a break and local organisations. If we ever feared we might not be busy we now know for sure there is a huge amount of need out there. We cannot thank enough all those who have and those continuing to support us in lots of different ways. This Retreat could not be open and offering time out to people in our community without the support of local people and local businesses. The lodge has been full most of the time since we opened - there is lots of administration involved with meeting potential guests and working out a time frame that suits them and sorting out who will stay where! We have a wonderful team of volunteer support workers who give their time to work with our guests as well as trained counsellors who offer us all supervision and guidance. We have been privileged to meet some wonderful people who have stayed with us, each guest brings their own special something and we all blessed. Check the photos of some of the crafty creations that they have made.
It is an amazing experience running the Retreat. So many highs and lows, calm times and frantic times. One of the best times of day is often our evening meal which we share communally around the huge table Jamie made. It is a good time to get together, "break bread" together and more often than not, laugh together. Again we have been blessed by kind supporters donating supplies of meat or veggies and even rocking up with a full meal. It is truly a special place we live in!
So it has been a rubbish summer but a very productive one out at the Retreat. Spurred on by being SO close to ready and SO close to opening, work hasn't stopped. The lodge has been all-but finished with the bathrooms installed, shelves in the wardrobes and all sorts of small details attended to. Some work has been carried out on the Chapel but there is still a way to go to complete that build. A1 have it in hand. There has also been major work on the grounds. We are have been so fortunate to have the help of New Plymouth Rotary and the Pukekura Rotary clubs who organised a series of working bees on site to help clear the masses of overgrowth and tidy up all over the place. We are so grateful to everyone who has come out and got stuck in over the past few weeks. The grounds have never looked so good! We were kindly loaned a digger from Hirepool and then another one from Porter Hire to do the final bits of earthworks. Darcy Keene very kindly delivered 8 trucks of top soil which Ernie has spread beautifully around the lodge....and the marvellous Rotarians raked and seeded the whole area
Just this week has seen a lovely, safe, wooden fence go up around the lodge (thanks Joe Corlett) and a winding concrete path leading to the gate (great job Roebuck Construction). We can't wait to get started on planting up around the path to bring our plans for an orchard to life. Take a look through the pictures to get an idea of what we've been up to!
It has certainly been another busy time out here at the Retreat. We are SO close to finishing you can almost taste it! Check out the photographs to see how beautiful the lodge is looking and some planting we have been able to do. Lots of progress has been made with the flooring all in, all the cupboard doors, the kitchen completed and the bathrooms almost finished. A tremendous effort from our fabulous plumbers (Vepo) means that the lodge has a fully functioning plumbing system with lots of hot water. The electricians (Switched Electrical) have also spent a lot of time working out here, often in the pouring rain so that everything electrical is now working. Metro Fires made good their promise and there is now a beautiful new fire in the communal area ready to keeps guests toasty in the winter.
Despite it being summer (ha!) we have been able to continue to plant up the site and improve the general look - there has to be an up side to all that rain. A working bee saw over 300 cabbage trees planted in a day! (Thanks to Inglewood Nurseries). It has transformed what was a rather ugly clay stream bank.
Hopefully the next few weeks will be especially active out here as we are pushing to get the last bits done in readiness for our official opening! The date has been set as Saturday 11th March, 12.15pm. We are lucky enough to have Mike King as our special guest to open the site and talk about his experiences. There will be stalls and activities on site so bring the family, spread the word and come and see it for your self.
Taranaki Retreat Trust is a community-owned initiative, making a difference in our place.We are a charitable trust, seeking to provide safer space for people who may be finding life unsafe. We are building a place of sanctuary for ordinary people like you and me. Many people are feeling the pressure, these days - and there is a largely silent tragedy of loss by suicide which we yearn to help to heal. Aiming to open in March 2017, our purpose will be to welcome all kinds of people, of all ages, for all kinds of reasons from across Taranaki. We are so close to completing the construction phase! Please bookmark our blog and check back regularly on all that's happening. We welcome your involvement and support.
Thank you for your support and prayers, as this vision takes shape. Stay in touch!
Jamie Allen, Project Co-ordinator
Christmas is very nearly here and the month has whizzed by with lots of progress made. Click through the pictures below and you can see the lodge becoming a welcoming home. Once the gib stoppers had finished and all the architraving, skirting boards and windowsills were in, we were blessed to have a series of fabulous painters through the Master Painters Association in to transform the walls! Their attention to detail and qualityof work is extremely impressive, it looks beautiful now!
Once the walls were looking fabulous it was finally time for some fittings to go in..... Af full day of grafting saw the ffirst half of the kitchen we have been donated fitted onto the back wall (lots of persuasion needed!) - it brings the room alive to see an oven and bench top there now. The rest will be added on top of the flooring.
Just this last week, saw Cleggs Carpet Court out here adding gorgeous carpet throughout and laminate flooring in the kitchen. What a difference carpet makes!
We are SO close to finishing this project - tantalisingly close. We have been relying on mostly donated time and expertise from builders and painters, it is hard to find these kind, busy people at this time of year! We are so grateful to all those who been involved so far and for A1 Homes for co-ordinating all the various builders. Our next focus is to get the bathrooms fitted and then we can start furnishing and really getting ready to open. The next few weeks should be the most exciting!
Work outside the lodge has also been progressing. We had a group of International Students visit from Spotswood college and then spent the day digging and helping build some veggie planters. Much work has been done behind the lodge on sorting out the drainage and waste water system - such muddy work in all this rain! We have been trying hard to find another digger to complete the landscaping work and just last week HIrepool offered the loan of a digger to help us out. It is amazing what a digger can do with some dirt and a few hours. Especially when you're lucky enough to have the skills and patience of a legend of a digger driver, thanks Ernest.
Wow! It has been another amazing month of progress. Just take a look below at the slideshow for some pictures which show much has happened out here - despite the extremely wet weather! Firstly, 3 local brick laying companies got together one Friday and bricked the whole house in less than a day. It was amazing to watch such skill at work. With thanks to Coastal Masonry, Russell Masonry and Sons of Masonry. After that work moved to the inside of the lodge - you can see that the sparkies (Switched Electrical), the plumbers (Vepo) and the gibbers (Coastline Interiors and Plaster Plus) have all been super busy. In the middle of all that work, we held a breakfast kindly sponsored by the Devon Hotel to raise awareness about the Retreat as well as to invite their support and participation. It was a fantastic breakfast (worth staying a night at the Devon for!) and there was a wonderful response to the presentation offered by Jamie. We are SO close to finishing the fundraising for the build of the Retreat, which is hard to believe after two years of working towards this point!
Right now we are just around $5000 away. We have set up a crowd funding page to get us across the line - please click on the link for more information - every bit helps and we really need to get the whole amount (or else we get nothing!). PledgeMe Now!
Wow it has been an amazing few weeks out here at the Retreat! After so long of fundraising and behind the scenes work, it is unbelievably exciting to see the build taking place. The Retreat is now a hive of activity most days. As you can see from the photos below, progress has been excellent. Dan (from A1 Homes) has kept up the momentum and there must be a lot of background work going on because most days a different set of builders turn up, donating their time through the Master Builder's association and pitching in to do their bit. It is inspiring to see so many people doing their bit...
We are pretty stoked at the Retreat that Waste Management have agreed to support us and donated a wheelie bin for the site! It is ridiculously exciting watching your rubbish being collected when you have been having to store and take smelly bin bags in your car! Thank you so much WM, we are getting so close to being open, it is fantastic to have this kind of rubbish taken care of....
Follow what's happening, here.