Medical centre fundraising starts

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Fundraising for the new medical centre in Palmerston is officially under way.

At the weekend they raised $3000 from a golf tournament organised by the Palmerston Waihemo Lions Club.

The golf tournament was just the first of many fundraisers to be organised to help raise funds for the new medical centre which will be built in the car park space of the old one.

East Otago Community Health Trust chairwoman Mary O’Connell said fundraising had finally started.

“I’m pleased that fundraising has finally started, but we have a long way to go and will hold a meeting at the end of this month to discuss more options and decide what’s next.”

Although it’s only the beginning, Mrs O’Connell was confident they’d get on track quickly.

“Once everyone is back and at work we will sort things out, but I’m confident things will be done quickly, because it’s something the town want,” she said

However it will be a couple of years before they actually the new medical centre which is set to cost somewhere between $700,000 and $900,000.

“Getting any building done this year is out of the question, we are focusing this year on the fundraising and getting grants with an aim to beginning building at the start of next year,” Mrs O’Connell said.

Three hundred thousand is the amount they are hoping to fundraise, while they are aiming to gain the similar amount through grants with a loan either being taken out for the remaining funds or more grants being asked for.

“There’s a little bit set aside which will help us get started, but we need to keep things going quickly.”

Mrs O’Connell said the community have been great and are all willing to help out when they can.

Everyone wants to see a new medical centre built in Palmerston and it will happen with the plans confirmed.

The current building is old and they have to go into different rooms just to access hot and cold water.

Waitaki District Mayor Gary Kircher said it’ll be tough getting it ready in time.

“They have a bit of work to do and quite a lot of money to fundraise, but there are some very keen locals on the committee and we will help them apply for grants through the Lotteries Commission and other avenues,” he said.

It should also help attract new GP’s to the area as some rural areas have been struggling, Mr Kircher┬ásaid.

By Brayden Lindsay