Halfway mark in sight in race to buy rest home

CHARLOTTE SQUIRE
Last updated 12:30 27/07/2013

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A couple who are seeking to save the Collingwood Joan Whiting Rest Home for Golden Bay's ageing population have raised pledges for close to half the amount needed to buy the property.

The Joan Whiting property is for sale for $650,000 and has several offers on the table. Para Para-based Vic and Liza Eastman are hoping to accumulate the funds to make an offer for it by Monday.

For the past three days the couple's phone has been running hot as 50 pledges, ranging from $1000 to $25,000 have been offered from a mostly local population, with some pledges coming from Nelson.

"We've yet to get where we want to be, but we're doing extremely well. We've had lots and lots of $1000 promises," said Mr Eastman, who served as a Golden Bay doctor for 18 years.

He said they are using a limited company "with full functioning systems" as an entity to hold the funds and buy the property.

"The security is that the company owns the building and each shareholder owns a portion of that building," he said.

Mrs Eastman says she would like to see the community adopt Motueka nurse Adrienne Henry's proposal to run the Joan Whiting Rest Home as an independent home for elderly people, running purely on assistance from charitable trusts, donations and voluntary support from the local community.

Ms Henry, who is a registered nurse and has been nursing the elderly for more than 30 years, would like to run the home in the same way Moreh Home has been successfully run in Fairlie for the past 34 years.

Moreh runs without funding or regulations from government and is supported by the community, including donations of food and resources from local businesses.

"It's a home, not a rest home. People would be flatmates. So say I'm an elderly man in Golden Bay and I don't want to go and live in a rest home, I want to go there. I pay out of my pension, whatever I can afford. It works on a faith, hope, charity system," Ms Henry said.

The Eastmans are asking people to invest in $1000 shares, which will buy them into a limited incorporated company, one vote per share.

"Time is of the essence. There are offers on the place. We need the pledges immediately," Mrs Eastman said.

"I'm very optimistic that we can do it. It's not going to be me, it's going to be the people who do it," Mrs Eastman said.

She said many people were born at the Joan Whiting or have had a family member stay there.

"They might like to consider helping the community make an offer for it," she said.

Pledges can be made by contacting Vic or Liza Eastman at: PO Box 35, Collingwood 7054, 03 524 8487 or liza@silkweb.net.nz.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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