Bricklayers build 4000 brick wall in torrential rain for Jamie Allen's Taranaki Retreat

Jamie Allen was overwhelmed to watch as 4000 bricks were laid at the Taranaki Retreat on Friday.
SIMON O'CONNOR/Fairfax NZ

Jamie Allen was overwhelmed to watch as 4000 bricks were laid at the Taranaki Retreat on Friday.

Brick layer Jade Dumbell reckons dealing with the effects of suicide is harder than any masonry wall he's ever worked on. 

Dumbell was one of more than a dozen brick layers who braved heavy rain to build a solid exterior around the Taranaki Retreat on Friday.

The retreat is a suicide prevention initiative established by the former Dean of the Taranaki Cathedral, Jamie Allen, to provide a safe haven for people in their time of need.

Crews from three Taranaki concrete companies put 4000 bricks in place at the Taranaki Retreat.
SIMON O'CONNOR/Fairfax NZ

Crews from three Taranaki concrete companies put 4000 bricks in place at the Taranaki Retreat.

Dumbell said everybody knew somebody who had been affected by the loss of someone  through suicide and it could take its toll on even the most manly Kiwi bloke.

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"It can affect anybody whether you are a brick layer or pharmacist," he said. 

Trent Dumbell puts the finishing touches on the brick work at the Taranaki Retreat.
SIMON O'CONNOR/Fairfax NZ

Trent Dumbell puts the finishing touches on the brick work at the Taranaki Retreat.

"That's part of the reason it made it easy to come here and do this today. It's good to do something for the community and to help out."

The crew from Russell Masonry, Sons of Masonry and Dumbell's company began their toil about 7.30am and despite the bad weather that hampered their progress, by the end of the day they'd put 4000 bricks into place to form the building's exterior.

"It was slow going this morning because of the rain."

Taranaki brick-layer Elijah Webby gets stuck into his task at the Taranaki Retreat.
SIMON O'CONNOR/Fairfax NZ

Taranaki brick-layer Elijah Webby gets stuck into his task at the Taranaki Retreat.

Allen was delighted to see his vision taking shape on Friday.

"I think it's incredibly inspiring to see how hard people have worked on it today.

"It now looks like a safe cosy home where people in need are going to be able to be looked after for generations to come."

He said the support from the community, including the fundraising efforts of the Joe's Garage Charity Cycle Riders, who rode 1380km in nine days to help pay for the construction, had been overwhelming.

"Today we are seeing the fruits of their actions," Allen said.

"To see the blokes making it reality, I felt really emotional, I felt really churned up this morning."

It was an appropriate time for the working bee to be held, Allen said, as a young woman whose brother recently committed suicide arrived for a visit.

"To be able to show her this happening was a sign of hope for her and her family.

"It's just overwhelming to see just how much people care and want to make a difference."

WHERE TO GET HELP

Lifeline (open 24/7) - 0800 543 354

Depression Helpline (open 24/7) - 0800 111 757

Healthline (open 24/7) - 0800 611 116

Samaritans (open 24/7) - 0800 726 666

Suicide Crisis Helpline (open 24/7) - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.

Youthline (open 24/7) - 0800 376 633. You can also text 234 for free between 8am and midnight, or emailtalk@youthline.co.nz

0800 WHATSUP children's helpline - phone 0800 9428 787 between 1pm and 10pm on weekdays and from 3pm to 10pm on weekends. Online chat is available from 7pm to 10pm every day at www.whatsup.co.nz.

Kidsline (open 24/7) - 0800 543 754. This service is for children aged 5 to 18. Those who ring between 4pm and 9pm on weekdays will speak to a Kidsline buddy. These are specially trained teenage telephone counsellors.

Your local Rural Support Trust - 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP)

Alcohol Drug Helpline (open 24/7) - 0800 787 797. You can also text 8691 for free.

For further information, contact the Mental Health Foundation's free Resource and Information Service (09 623 4812).

 

 - Stuff

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