Army connecting with community

by Kent Caddick

”Providing community connections is the aim of the Salvation Army in setting up a base in Rolleston.

The Salvation Army recently bought a former residential building on Springston Rolleston Road to set up a base of operations to service Selwyn.

Nestled behind a hedge opposite Rolleston College, Generation House is now becoming a first point of contact for many local groups and individuals.

Leading the charge for the army in Rolleston are Lieutenants Nathan and Naomi Holt, members of the Salvation Army Rolleston Corp.

“Just over three years ago Naomi and I were sent to set up in Rolleston and our first job was to see what the needs of the community were and to try and find a way to fill the gaps we found,” Nathan said.

“Anytime there’s a growing community, there are growing needs, and when we see a place like Rolleston with a huge population boom, it’s an opportunity for us to jump in and help out.

“In talking to the Selwyn Youth Council, parents and other groups, one of the gaps identified was that there was a lack of a physical space for community groups.

“There are community centres and gyms and the like but not areas that have the ‘home away from home’ feel to them, which could be used for group meetings, but also have space for one-on-one contacts like counselling services.

“One of the Salvation Army’s reasons for being in a community is to benefit that community, and it is pretty typical of the army to establish a base of operations within that community, which is what Generation House is.” Initially Nathan said they looked at shifting a building on to council land. “However, with the cost of that and all the red tape that went with it, it seemed easier for us to keep it with the Salvation Army structure.

“Around October of last year we decided that trying to do this collaboratively wasn’t working, and with our Jones Road Family Store doing well, it gave us the financial stability to be able to invest back into the community through a property like this.

“So really it has been the generosity of the people in Selwyn who have contributed to us being able to set up Generation House, which is kind of cool.” Groups such as the Selwyn Parenting Network and the Selwyn Creative Network have taken advantage of what the army is offering through Generation House but Nathan said they are not about providing permanent office space. 

“It’s more about providing a space where people can connect,” he said.

“There are a lot of groups out in Selwyn who do help people but no one knows where to find them or put them. We can provide this at Generation House and also help them to connect with other groups.

Lieutenants Nathan and Naomi Holt of the Salvation Army take 
a break in one of Generation House’s community rooms

Nathan said the Salvation Army doesn’t provide social services but can assist in connecting people to those services.

“When we did our needs assessment out here we found the district doesn’t have those dense inner-city issues, as Selwyn is both urban and rural, so the way we approach things out here is very different to what we would be doing in the suburbs of Christchurch, like Linwood.”

He said one of the main issues they have identified being in Rolleston is families who are struggling.

“Not a lot of it is ongoing needs.

It is more often about some event or emergency when something bad happens like an injury, and someone can’t work for some time and they have family to take care of, or they are just looking for advice on parenting.

“We are not having people come in every week for food or anything like that.”

For more information on Generation House and how the Salvation Army can help people, call Nathan Holt on 022 1909 2070 or email him at