Comcare seeks new premises to optimise service delivery in Christchurch

07 December 2018

Canterbury mental health and addiction services provider Comcare Trust is embarking on a search to find the perfect building to house all its services under one roof in Christchurch.

The purchase of a suitable property will enable the charitable trust, which has provided mental health support services to Cantabrians since 1987, to bring its various service divisions, management and administration functions together in one location in metropolitan Christchurch for the first time.

Ryan Geddes and Jonathan Lyttle of Savills are assisting Comcare with locating and acquiring new premises, which will enable the trust to offer an improved service to clients and provide a better place for its staff to work.

Comcare’s 100-plus staff are currently based between three sites on Lichfield St owned by the trust, along with several other leased properties in Christchurch and in provincial centres across Canterbury. The three owned sites are being placed on the market for sale through Savills.

The eventual move to a new property, targeted for early to mid 2020, will consolidate the trust’s Christchurch team, which includes a largely mobile workforce of client support staff as well as management and administration.

Key requirements include a building of around 1500m2-2000m2 in floor area with good public transport and disability access. Comcare is willing to consider either refurbishing and repurposing an existing older building to suit its needs, or purchasing a newer building that only needs minor alterations, says Geddes.

“We’re looking at a range of options for Comcare and we would also like to hear from property owners holding office buildings which may fit the bill and who might consider selling,” he says.

“A readily-adaptable commercial building with convenient disability access, good availability of car parking and a location on a main bus route are the non-negotiables. Ideally it would also have an outdoor area for client and staff relaxation, and provide an energising and health-promoting space for Comcare’s clients and staff.”

With property often featuring as a significant cost on organisations’ balance sheets, rationalising the use of property can realise financial advantages for occupiers, Lyttle says.

“For Comcare, co-locating all its Christchurch functions in a single headquarters is expected to simplify its operations and enable the trust to operate much more efficiently. For a charitable organisation, this is a clear benefit.”

David Callis, business manager at Comcare, says the organisation has grown from employing 70 staff in 2013 to over 100 in 2018. The trust is now one of the pre-eminent mental health services providers in Canterbury.

Due to this growth and the lack of a single headquarters, the organisation’s services are currently largely delivered, by necessity, on a one-to-one basis usually in clients’ homes or at other off-site locations, he says.

“At the moment we don’t have capacity in any of our properties to provide support services on-site in Christchurch. Instead we are restricted to meeting clients in their homes or other locations, which isn’t always appropriate or optimal for their recovery.”

“We are proud to be a preferred provider of mental health and addiction services in Christchurch, however this means we have many clients in vulnerable and marginal situations who could benefit from receiving support in an attractive and health-promoting environment. This is the vision we have for our new building.”

Moving into a single, large facility will also enable Comcare to provide its clients with important services such as computers and internet access, assistance with housing and employment, and health & wellbeing support which they may otherwise find difficult to access, he says.

“We’d love to provide a safe and welcoming place for our clients to come to access key services, which they may be restricted from receiving for a variety of reasons. Often it’s as simple as providing a place for a vulnerable person to receive support from trained staff in purpose-designed surroundings, to help them get up on their feet again.”

Providing a comfortable, tech-savvy and relaxing space for staff to take well-earned time out and catch up on office-based work is a further priority for Comcare, says Callis.

“The daily work our staff do can be highly challenging. We really value the skills and experience they bring to our clients, so it’s just as important for us to offer them a healthy, restorative and attractive space to take a break and catch up on admin, as it is for our clients to come and receive support.”

Comcare aims to house several support services in the new building, including physical health and wellbeing, peer and group programmes and housing and employment services. A variety of communal spaces will be provided as well as private meeting rooms, Callis says.

“We know that coming together for group experiences can provide positive energy and peer learning opportunities that many of our clients find beneficial,” he says.

“Some people prefer a one on one support experience and we’ll still provide that, but we would love our new building to be able to facilitate connections with others with similar experiences, which we know can greatly assist many of our clients.”

Learn more about Savills Occupier Services.


Key Contacts

Ryan Geddes

Ryan Geddes

Managing Director - Christchurch
Capital Transactions

Savills Christchurch

+64 (0) 21 395 518