Quentin Jukes from Home Builders

It’s nice to know that there’s always someone to talk to when life gets tough. That’s the idea behind Homebuilders – to give free emotional and practical support to families under any kind of stress.

Based in Warkworth, Homebuilders offer a range of services in the North Rodney district, including confidential counselling for parents and children, assistance with Work and Income, legal advice, as well as courses on parenting and mindfulness.

Homebuilders Coordinator Quentin Jukes says they aim to be proactive and help people create positive changes for themselves.

“We like working with people who have small issues, because it helps prevent them from becoming big issues,” he says.

Quentin has been supporting local families since he joined Homebuilders 17 years ago. He started out working with the helpdesk service team, and when the main Coordinator role became available he jumped at the opportunity.

“When I first came to the area, I was doing some little bits and pieces in similar organisations,” he says. "One day I saw an opening at Homebuilders, and I thought I would go for it. I knew they had a tight team, who were focused on doing meaningful, quality work.”

“Every family has times when things are great, but they also have times when things are tough. We are here to support families through the tough times, so they can deal with their issues more effectively.”

Homebuilders was established for just that reason back in 1989. Their main service has always been family support, but they offer a lot more than that.

“We have a youth counselling program for teenagers, and a ‘Chrysalis’ one-to-one program for younger children, to help them deal with issues like parent separation, or bullying at school,” says Quentin. “Homebuilders is also an active part of the Te Rito family violence prevention network.”

Once a month, Homebuilders run a free legal clinic together with the Women’s Centre, where people can ask for advice from local lawyers who have generously offered their time.

“And another thing we offer is a free uniform exchange service. People can bring their old uniforms in and if they need a new piece for the coming term they can have a look through what other people have donated.”

“We also hold parenting and mindfulness courses in Warkworth and Wellsford. The parenting course is a really good top-up for mums and dads. The aim of the mindfulness courses is to help people anchor themselves, if for example they are dealing with depression or anxiety – to manage it better.”

Homebuilders is only 45% funded by the government, and they rely on the generosity of local people and programmes like the Lottery Grants Board for the remainder of their funding. Even then, it’s sometimes not enough to cover all costs – Quentin says they are flat out and typically do 80% more work than the funding pays for.

“We have eight paid staff, who are all part-timers, and a bunch of 15 volunteers to help with the background work. They are a wonderful team and do great work.”

“We really appreciate how generous people are, we get a lot of people offering to set up regular direct debits, and they all add up to make a difference. Sometimes we are blown away. Bevan Woodward, a local guy, rode his bike from Cape Reinga to Bluff and raised around $5,000 for us recently.”

That kind of generosity and community spirit was part of the reason Quentin moved here 20 years ago, around 1998. The beautiful local beaches were another reason.

“Te Arai and Pakiri Beach – they are the two places that make me the happiest,” he says. “That sense of space is fantastic, and there is seldom anyone else around. It’s a real privilege to be able to experience something like that, which I think we don’t always appreciate. It’s like something out of a movie.”

Quentin encourages people to get in touch with Homebuilders, no matter how big or small the issue is.

“It’s a very easy process. People are welcome to check the website or just give us a buzz on the phone, so we can have a chat. We’re here to help.”

www.homebuildersfs.org

09 425 7048