We are a Christian Social service agency and we work for those who are poor, sick, addicted and lonely. People of all ages, races and gender who have a need can expected to be treated with dignity and given as much help as we are able to give and that they have need of. The origins of the Christchurch City Mission go back to 1898 and we have been a strong presence in Christchurch ever since.
The Mission started to visit the sick and those in prison and to provide meals and support to people. When the Flu epidemic on 1918 hit we worked along side others, e.g. Nurse Maude, to assist. During the Great Depression we worked closely with the Mayor and the City Council operating as a Relief Depot. During World War 2 the Mission worked with servicemen and their families.
In the post war period a decision was made to move the City Mission to the present Hereford Street site and a Night Shelter was established. During this period s the Food Bank continued as did the budgetary work both of which the Mission had undertaken for many years. In the late 1970’s unemployment began to hit New Zealand and it developed into a major crisis for low income New Zealanders as many lost their jobs with consequent major disruption to family life.
At the Mission pressure on services continued as the unemployment problem deepened. Existing crisis services were maintained and developed and in due course the Mission began to generate an array of services aimed at change in people’s lives. We started a non medical or social detoxification service later to be called Thorpe House (1990).
In the early to mid 1990’s Walsh House was established as a drop in and social work service for women and children and a specialized women’s addiction day programme called Women’s Recovery was opened. Addictions counseling service had been established in the early 1990’s. Over time the Mission has adapted to the needs in the community. Budget advice and total money management were started and now a Men’s Day Centre and, as the result of the earthquake, an emergency response service has also started.
The growth and development in the later 80’s and early 90’s involved increased annual expenditure from $192K in 1982 to $3.2M in 2003/4. It now costs over 4.2 Million a year to run the City Mission.