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Chris Ruth Centre changing lives

For more than two decades the Chris Ruth Centre has worked to improve the lives of people in our community living with disabilities.

The centre, which has three branches in the Canterbury region, focuses on improving the wellbeing and quality of life for vulnerable people including disabled people and those with long-term health conditions.

Each client has a programme designed to meet their own specific needs, incorporating life skills, communication, education, community-based activities, physical therapy and recreation.

Chris Ruth Centre General Manager Marilyn Paston says the centre aims to provide one-to-one care for their clients.

“We want people to have the best quality day and programme while they are with us.”

She says programmes are structured with each individual’s needs and interests in mind.

“They get out and about in the community, doing things that bring them both enjoyment and purpose. For some of our clients, it gives them a reason to get out of bed in the morning.”

“It’s the difference between sitting at home with carers, and having somewhere to go every day that is meaningful. Coming here gives them a sense of purpose and belonging.”

The Chris Ruth Centre started in 1998 after a group of students in the disability unit at Hillmorton High School were faced with not having anywhere to go due to a lack of appropriate support services.

The students’ parents told then Prime Minister Jenny Shipley of their plight, who ensured funding was secured to set the centre up.

The Trust went through a period of displacement, moving to different locations until Rātā Foundation provided a Community Loan of $900,000, allowing them to purchase their property in Hoon Hay.

“Being able to buy this property has meant so much. It has meant we can just carry on as usual, which is so valuable.”

Rātā Foundation made the loan under the Support priority area.

For more information on the Chris Ruth Centre, visit their website:

To learn more about Rātā Foundation’s Community Loan funding area, visit our website: