They're having a ball in a healthy cause

The Twizel community will be putting on their best dancing shoes to raise money for their new medical centre.

The local promotions and development association has decided to donate the proceeds from the event toward the new centre.

Secretary Joy Paterson said it was a way of showing the community's support for the project.

"Everyone in the community wants this centre to go ahead, so we felt we should contribute in some way towards it," she said.

Mrs Paterson promised that this year's ball would be "pretty extravagant".

"We're going for a ‘Putting on the Ritz' theme, and a local has designed these really grand screen prints for the event," she said.

Plans to fundraise for the new centre had been in limbo until early this year, after talks between the Mackenzie Medical Trust and High Country Health (HCH), the commercial wing of the trust, stalled. The HCH board has asked for the trust to transfer its shareholdings.

In the meantime, the Mackenzie Medical Trust began fundraising, although trust chairman Simon Williamson said it had been slow progress so far.

"It's always difficult to get projects happening in winter, so we're hoping to become more active over the summer months," he said.

"We've hosted a couple of bingo nights, and raised about $4000 so far, but it's early days, and we've got a few big ideas on the cards."

Mr Williamson said they had a couple of possible sites for the new centre, with the "preferred option" at this stage being near the local golf course.

"We'll see how it goes, but that site would suit us, as it has easy access to the local St John's and fire department," he said.

Mr Williamson said plans for the centre would be sent to the council shortly - the idea would be to replace the current premises, an old Ministry of Works building, with a purpose-built facility featuring four patient rooms, and space for clinics.

"Twizel gets massively busy over the summer, and already the centre's resources are stretched - they have more than 1400 people on their permanent books," Mr Williamson said.

The project is expected to cost $1 million all up.

"And it's great that the people running the ball are supporting us."

Tickets for the ball are on sale now, and the event will be held at the events centre on August 25.

The Timaru Herald