St Joseph preschool plans up in the air

Central Leader - - News -

A de­ci­sion to lease two sep­a­rate spa­ces in a va­cant One­hunga build­ing may have thrown a span­ner in works for a pro­posed preschool.

The Auck­land City Coun­cil orig­i­nally ad­ver­tised the lease for the build­ing at 3 Rowe St at the end of last year and the Maun­gakiekie Ed­u­ca­tion and Com­mu­nity Trust ap­plied for it.

It wants to set up a preschool in the pur­pose-built space, which was for­merly a ko­hanga reo.

A suc­cess­ful ap­pli­cant hasn’t been cho­sen yet but the coun­cil re­cently ad­ver­tised of­fice space in the build­ing as a sep­a­rate lease.

Trus­tee and St Joseph’s School prin­ci­pal Andy Thomp­son was not aware of the sec­ond lease and was sur­prised to see the of­fice space ad­ver­tised be­fore a de­ci­sion was made on who would lease the larger part of the build­ing.

He says he un­der­stood from a dis­cus­sion with a coun­cil of­fi­cer that the coun­cil would look at the needs of the suc­cess­ful ap­pli­cant be­fore leas­ing out the sep­a­rate of­fice space.

He says an­other group us­ing part of the build­ing could jeop­ar­dise the preschool plan be­cause the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry guide­lines for es­tab­lish­ing early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion cen­tres are strin­gent.

The Maun­gakiekie Com­mu­nity Board will de­cide which group they will rec­om­mend to get the lease for the larger part of the build­ing at its meet­ing next week. Get­ting in­volved with the com­mu­nity has led to a new friend­ship for vol­un­teers Emily David­son and Le­an­dro Ribeiro.

The pair have been vis­it­ing Mt Al­bert pen­sioner Mervyn Long for about five months, spending time with him ev­ery Tues­day evening as part of the Sal­va­tion Army’s Heart­felt Help pro­gramme.

Mr Long en­joys the op­por­tu­nity to ex­change ban­ter with them.

“We have a few ar­gu­ments,” he jokes. “I en­joy it.”

Mr Long spends most of his time at home, al­though he walks ev­ery day for his health and his daugh­ter Debbie Fergus takes him out on Wed­nes­days.

She says it’s great hav­ing Ms David­son and Mr Ribeiro visit her dad and he looks for­ward to it.

The pair joined the pro­gramme af­ter de­cid­ing to do some vol­un­teer work in the com­mu­nity.

“I went on the in­ter­net and found a web­site where you can find all sorts of pro­grammes,” says Mr Ribeiro.

They came across Heart­felt Help and de­cided to join.

“We go to church lo­cally and had been think­ing about get­ting more in­volved in the

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