Marantha House, childcare centre construction commences

All generations: Architect Kirk Gleeson, builder Matt Redfern with son Freddie and Maranatha Vice Chairman Terry Frost. Photo: Taylor Jurd.
All generations: Architect Kirk Gleeson, builder Matt Redfern with son Freddie and Maranatha Vice Chairman Terry Frost. Photo: Taylor Jurd.

Construction has begun on an Australian-first project that will integrate Wellington's youngest and oldest residents.

A childcare centre is being built alongside the existing Maranatha House aged care facility, which will help promote interaction between generations.

The centre is being built to fit more than 40 children and will include a 'yarning space', to allow for all all residents to meet and establish connections.

Maranatha Vice Chairman Terry Frost was at the site last Friday for the turning of the sod.

He first had the idea for the project eight years ago and while excited that it was finally coming to fruition, admitted it was daunting because it was the first of its kind in the country.

"From the fact that we now have to make it work. But we have a lot of international interest," Mr Frost said.

Construction will run for approximately 35 to 40 weeks and is being undertaken by local builder Matt Redfern from Matt Redfern Constructions, who has also secured local sub contractors.

Dubbo architect Kirk Gleeson from Barson, has designed the childcare centre.

The building is based on a normal childcare centre and includes accommodation facilities to take children overnight in need of crisis care.

Through the connected wall from Marantha House, the older residents will have the opportunity to come over the childcare centre and participate in various activities.

Mr Frost said the Marantha residents love the idea of the connected childcare centre.

Federal Member for Calare Andrew Gee attended the sod turning event said these intimate interactions between young and old will break down social barriers between generations and increase the quality of life for Maranatha House residents.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government's $1.5 million investment in Wellington's childcare sector would provide long-term social and economic benefits to the region.

"This investment will also provide long-term economic benefits to the region by creating 12 ongoing roles at the facility, attracting young families to remain in the area and providing the very young the opportunity to grow up healthy and happy," he said.

The Federal Liberal and Nationals Government is investing $1.5 million in the project under the Building Better Regions program, a $841 million investment designed to create jobs, drive economic growth, and build stronger regional communities into the future.

Maranatha House also contributed $1.5 million.

"This is a huge expansion in local childcare capacity, creating a quality four-room facility with sleeping spaces for 14 children, consulting rooms, office facilities for staff and even sensory gardens and a bush-tucker garden, giving children outdoor space as well," Mr McCormack said.

Mr Frost said there is the opportunity to expand the childcare numbers at a later date.

He added that his idea to have a childcare centre built alongside Maranatha House came about all those years ago when his father was a resident.

Mr Frost said something was missing and he knew it was children because they bring a different dimension to older people's lives.