About Us

Our History

The Community House Mid Canterbury – a place to meet in the heart of Ashburton – is a not-for-profit community-focused facility.

Situated in a prime location in the centre of Ashburton. Community House offers a range of spaces for a variety of uses along with other ancillary services.

How does Community House operate?

The day-to-day operation of Community House, is overseen by a board of 7 trustees, all of whom volunteer their time.. The team of staff situated in Community House include an onsite Manager, Receptionist, Marketing Administrator and Accounts Administrator.

Volunteers and Funding

Further volunteers are constantly sought for a wide range of activities at the Community House.

The Community House is funded by annual grants, donations, ongoing venue hire and the community van hire as well as the occasional fundraising. We would like to thank our supporters and ongoing funders for their ongoing support of CHMC.

The History of Community House

Community House was originally started in 1995 by May Greenslade as a resource centre for non-government agencies to provide a hub for social service groups in Ashburton. CHMChas continued to grow and the demand for such a service hub warranted the appointment of a full time manager in 2002 . Prior to this it was co-ordinated by a group of volunteers.

In late 2015 CHMC Charitable Trust acquired its current building and following a full renovation and refit the new CHMC was officially opened in April at Cass Street location by the Rangitata MP and the Ministry for the Community and Volunteer sector, Jo Goodhew. She stated in her opening speech;

“This is a big day for the Ashburton Community. It’s a day that only came about because of the courage to move on”.

Community House Today

In the wake of the tragic shooting at the Ashburton Winz office on September 1st 2014 the community trust along with the support of the community saw an opportunity to turn something bad into good and purchased the building to become now the Community House. At the time they were in need of more space and could foresee a great future for the Community House in these premises. Undergoing an extensive renovation to ensure that the sad history did not remain there were numerous changes both big and small to the building that stands today.

The present day sees the hub; home to over 20 permanent tenants along with providing causal office space options, meeting rooms for hire for the community, hire of the community van along with network meetings, photocopying services and JP signing services.

Our Funders

We are indebted to our generous local businesses and supporting funders for their commitment to helping us continue to serve the Community House Mid Canterbury.

On behalf of all at CHMC, we would like to extend a very warm thank you to:

  • Lotteries Community Fund
  • Cogs (Community Organisation Grants Scheme)
  • CTMSC (Community Trust Mid South Canterbury)
  • Advance Ashburton Community Foundation
  • Lion Foundation
  • Trust Ashburton Charitable Trust

We gratefully acknowledge the support of these funding bodies who have been an integral part of the Community House throughout the years.

Our Board

We operate by a charitable trust made up of a team of voluntary board members who are committed and passionate about proving the Mid Canterbury area with the best resources possible for its local communities.

  • Leandra Fitzgibbon
    Leandra Fitzgibbon Chairperson and Solicitor

    Leandra was a partner at Argyle Welsh Finnigan from 2012 to mid-2018 and is currently a Partner/In-house Lawyer with Genesis Private Equity.

    A member of the Institute of Directors, she has also been a board member of the Property and Employment Committees.

    Behind the scenes of a busy work life, Leandra is married to Mark, the Mid-South Canterbury Manager for Hydro services and they have two young daughters.

  • Dave Mathieson
    Dave Mathieson Accountant

    Dave is a born and bred Ashburtonian who went on to study at Otago University. He now splits his work time as the owner of Mathieson’s Chartered accountants and his construction business in Christchurch. He is married to Lynda and together they have 6 busy children.

    Dave is a valued member of the Community House Trust Board and has been part of the financial committee since 2013. He continues to be committed to the growth of  Community House and the staff that run it.

  • Rex Whiting
    Rex Whiting Funding Committee Member

    Rex has thirty-eight years of service as a principal and teacher before embarking on a new journey as a  self-employed education consultant. As a former Trustee of Mid & South Canterbury, and an active member of the lions club Ashburton, Rex is also member of the funding committee at Community House. Rex is married to Moyra, and they have two adult children and four grandchildren.

  • Tony Gilbert
    Tony Gilbert Finance

    Tony is a commercial client relationship Manager for ANZ Bank based in Ashburton. Five years ago he moved to Ashburton from Christchurch with his wife Gayle and three young daughters Alyssa, Isla & Eve who all attend local Ashburton schools. His career with ANZ has provided opportunities to work with a variety of businesses and individuals that provide essential services and support for the communities in which they reside. During his time in Ashburton, he has been very impressed with the level of community support for current and future community needs.
    Tony is also a member of the Finance and Funding committee.

  • David Rush
    David Rush Insurance

    David is the founder and owner of Vision Insurance. He has over 25 years of experience in all aspects of the fire and general insurance industry. He is qualified as a Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance, holds a diploma of Business Studies (Insurance Management) through Massey University, and is also qualified as a Certified Insurance and Professional (CIP) and Qualified Practicing Insurance Broker (QPIB).

    David has been involved with a number of community organisations, including past chair of the Ashburton College and is a member of the property committee.

  • Natasha Wilson
    Natasha Wilson Finance

    Natasha is a born and raised Ashburtonian with 17 years in the finance industry, and currently works as a Business Banking Manager for ANZ Bank based in Ashburton. Natasha works with a wide variety of individuals and businesses which links her well within the local community. Natasha is supported by husband Hamish, who works for a local owned and operated business, and son Taylor who attends Ashburton Intermediate School.

  • Peter Melrose
    Peter Melrose Education

    Peter has been a principal at a number of schools both in Mid Canterbury and North Canterbury. Currently he is principal at Hampstead School. Peter undertakes principal appraisals for the University of Canterbury UCEd+ and is a trustee of the Bowerbank Trust. He has interests in supporting community groups in Ashburton particularly those which have an impact with children.

Our Values









Our Staff

  • John Driscoll
    John Driscoll Facilities Manager

    John has lived all his life in Ashburton, is married to Alison, and together they have 4 adult children who are all married. With 7 grandchildren who keep them very busy! John was a farmer, retiring in 1998 due to health problems. It was at this time that he became involved with the Ashburton Rotary Club, enjoying working in the community and doing good in the world. He is the current Governor of District 9970. Through Rotary, John became a member of Ashburton Birthright Inc. in 2002, during which he chaired the board until standing down in 2019. During this time Ashburton Birthright was liquidated to make room for the creation of Birthright Canterbury, expanding to have offices in both Ashburton and Christchurch. John was approached to join the board of what was then the Ashburton Resource Centre in 2006, later and now known as Community House Mid Canterbury. Becoming the Chairman in 2010 through to April 2017, in a role that saw many changes. Community House moved location, from a leased space to owning where we are today, a great milestone. Since 2017 John has been the Manager of Community House and is thoroughly enjoying his role which serves as a Community Hub for all of Mid Canterbury.

  • Jess Ross
    Jess Ross Reception / Marketing

    Jess is our morning Receptionist at Community House as well as our Marketing Administrator. She has a background in Sales and Marketing, before joining our front desk team in January 2019. Jess, her partner Ben and their two young children own a lifestyle block near Ashburton and are enjoying being part of the Mid Canterbury Community and all that it has to offer. She looks forward to greeting you on your visit to CHMC.

  • Jeanette Price
    Jeanette Price Reception / Finance

    Jeanette is our afternoon Receptionist at Community House as well as our Accounts Administrator. She has 30 years’ administration experience before joining the Community House team in January 2019. She is Ashburton born and bred. Her husband Chris is Fleet Coordinator for Fire and Emergency New Zealand and they have 3 adult children. Jeanette is happy to help any visitors who visit Community House.

Want to find out more?

Contact Us

Please send us an email and we’ll get back to you asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt