Who We Are

Safer Mid Canterbury is the largest locally-driven provider of community services in the Ashburton District. We are a non-profit organisation that has been operating as a charitable trust for more than 25 years, providing free and confidential services that focus on a healthier, stronger and safer community for all.


Safer Mid Canterbury is a non-profit community organisation that has been operating as a charitable trust for more than 20 years. We provide free and confidential community services for the Ashburton district, such as supporting vulnerable families, children, new migrants and youth justice and adult offenders.

Along with delivering crime prevention projects, we prioritise the delivery of early intervention programmes, to support and strengthen individuals and families. We help people to make good choices, providing positive opportunities and pathways for change.

Safer Mid Canterbury has grown steadily since its inception in 1994 and we employ a wide range of staff across many different programme areas. We also have a team of dedicated volunteers supporting these programmes, alongside extensive community support, and engagement with other agencies and providers across the district. Safer Mid Canterbury is the largest locally-driven provider of community services in the Ashburton District.

We also employ staff on behalf of other small, non-profit organisations including the Mid Canterbury Newcomers Network, Hype Youth Health Centre, and Neighbourhood Support. Staff of these organisations report to their respective Trusts at a governance level, and Safer Mid Canterbury handles their day-today management and employment. This relationship saves small organisations from having to become employers; provides staff with the support and direction of a larger organisation with robust policies and procedures; and saves on administration overheads.

Our Trustees

Liz McMillan

Safe Communities Chair 

Liz was appointed as the Chair of Safe Communities, following her appointment to the Board as Ashburton District Council’s representative in September 2017. Liz is the Deputy Mayor of Ashburton and was previously the chairperson of the Methven Community Board. She was chair for six of her nine years on the Community Board.

Don McLeod

Safer Mid Canterbury Chair 

Don has been a Safer Mid Canterbury Board member for eight years, including several years as the Board Chairperson. He is a former secondary school principal and former Ashburton District Councillor, who has a strong interest in people and the community. He is also a board member for Ashburton Community Alcohol and Drug Service (ACADS), Community House Mid Canterbury, and Neighbourhood Support.

Max Cawte

Max is the managing director of Ashburton Powdercoating and has been contributing his skills and knowledge to Safer Mid Canterbury for more than 10 years, including six as a trustee. He is a long-term member of the Ashburton Lions Club, which includes a period as President. 

Jeanette Tarbotton

Jeanette has a long history of community involvement in Mid Canterbury and is a representative of the local chapter of Age Concern, which works in the interests of elderly residents. She has also been involved with Federated Farmers, Rural Women New Zealand, and the Ashburton Lions Club. 

Michelle Brett

Michelle is well known for her work in various community sectors throughout the Mid Canterbury district. She is currently the Hato Hone St John Right Care Advisor Hauora Māori, is a member of the St John Diversity and Inclusion Council and is the South Island Youth Clinical Liaison. Michelle is also the Chair of Hakatere Marae, a position she has held for the past three years. She is passionate about improving whānau outcomes and helping achieve greater equity.

Our Supporters

  • Lions Club of Ashburton
  • Advance Ashburton
  • Ashburton District Council
  • Ministry for Children – Oranga Tamariki
  • Community Trust Mid and South Canterbury
  • Ministry of Education
  • Ministry of Justice
  • NZ Lottery Board
  • Te Ora Hou
  • Youth Institute of Ashburton
  • Lion Foundation
  • Department for Courts
  • Public Trust
  • COGS
  • ACC