In 1999 Eric Park, a member of the Christchurch North Methodist Parish had a vision. He saw the work that was being done in Bryndwr by the churches in that area and decided to research the need in Bishopdale for a similar group. He visited all the churches in the area to gauge their interest and looked at the needs of the area.
He called a meeting of those interested, and with representatives of St Margaret's, St Gregory's, St John's, the Salvation Army, the Bishopdale Church of Christ, the YMCA and the Methodist Church, founded the Bishopdale Community Trust. Eric used the expertise he had gained in middle management at the Christchurch City Council to help set up the Trust and continued as Chairperson for several years. Many of the original Trust members are still actively involved today.
The purposes of the Bishopdale Community Trust (BCT) were to help residents and families develop skills for family and community life, and to help people with needs to be part of the community. To do this effectively, in 2000 the Trust employed a Community Development Worker who worked out of a room at St David’s Methodist Church on Wairakei Road. A Volunteer Co-ordinator was recruited and joined the office a few months later.
When St Margaret’s received a bequest and other funding enabling them to purchase the house at 100 Farrington Avenue, the Trust found its permanent home. St Margaret’s entered into an agreement with the Bishopdale Community Trust in 2003, allowing the Bishopdale Community Trust to be the primary user of Sundbye House, (named after Charlie Sundbye, the parishioner whose bequest made the acquisition of the house possible), and the community programmes flourished under the supervision of the Community Development Worker.
Since 2003 the Trust has carried on its objectives by running regular community events in Sundbye House, and encouraging people to drop in during the day. The House is open Monday to Thursday 10am-3pm. Courses help participants find new interests and skills, and all activities provide opportunities for new connections and friendships.
The Trust have recently moved into St Margaret's Church Hub, due to the planned sale of Sunbye House. There are currently has three part time staff members: the Community Development Worker, the Office Coordinator and the House Manager and over 50 volunteers.
2023 has seen the beginning of The Isleworth Project, starting with coffee (and tea) being served at Isleworth school on a Thursday morning, from 8.30 for parents dropping their children off at school. As the Trust builds relationships with parents there will be more opportunities for parents to get involved with relevant groups at the Hub.
Dawn Hastings: Community Development Worker
Dawn has overall responsibility for the Trust, groups, activities and new ventures. She is the face of the Bishopdale Community Trust in the community and works with local residents alongside other community agencies.
Nicky: House Coordinator
Nicky is responsible for the smooth running of Bishopdale Hub activities and volunteers. She provides hospitality, looks after everyone and maintains supplies.
Susie: Office Coordinator
Susie is responsible for the administrative activities of the trust. She ensures that the financial and information systems that underpin our work are efficient and effective.
Our funders and supporters
The Bishopdale Trust is a charitable organisation (registration number CC21088) that could not continue its work in the communities of Christchurch’s North-West without support from the community, businesses and local government.
We are very grateful to our key funders and supporters: