Working smarter, fostering cooperation and collaboration, and pooling resources for greater community benefit are at the heart of a pilot project launched in Whangaparaoa earlier this year.
The Whangaparaoa Community Hub, at 707 Whangaparaoa Road, is a partnership involving Future Whangaparaoa, the Hibiscus Coast Family Centre Trust and a steering committee made up of social service providers and members.
Community activator Sara Mason, who is managing the Hub’s day-to-day operations, says the vision is to create a strong, connected, supported and safe local community.
“The Hub will operate as a pilot project for one year to determine how best the local groups and agencies can share a space, before ultimately realising the long-held goal of a permanent, purpose-built community Hub,” Sara says.
One of the first groups to get involved was Future Whangaparaoa Business, a group created to support businesses and business owners in Whangaparaoa. The group currently offers workshops, networking events, co-working days and free business mentoring from the Hub, as well as offering all Whangaparaoa businesses free directory listings on whangaparaoa.info.
As it grows it intends to broaden its agenda to support employment and training pathways and, alongside the Future Whangaparaoa Trust, initiate community events in partnership with local business.
Sara says one of the key objectives of the Hub is to increase accessibility of services to those living on the peninsular. One such service is Yes Disability, which is based in Albany. The service now has a disability advisor based at the Hub one day a month offering free advice and support to people with disabilities or those caring for people with a disability.
“We know travel can be a barrier to accessing support services, so having a space that can host these services makes them more available to the community and increases the reach of the service. It’s a win-win scenario.”
Other activities on offer include parenting classes, mindfulness and relaxation classes, and free personal financial mentoring, with new activities being added regularly.
The Hub invites any organisation, social service or businesses operating in Whangaparaoa, from Red Beach to Gulf Harbour, to get in touch and discuss how they can utilise the Hub space.
“There are very affordable hire rates for the space which is suitable for meetings, workshops, events and more. We would also love to hear from organisations not currently operating in Whangaparaoa to discuss potentially offering their services from the Hub.
“We are all about being responsive to the community,” Sara says, “If several people tell us there is a particular need, we aim to find a group or activity to meet it.”
How can you help?
The Hub is keen to recruit volunteers to act as Hub Hosts. Their role will be to chat with visitors about what’s on offer and get feedback on what they would like to see at the Hub. They are also encouraging groups and services to utilise the space, as a meeting place or to showcase what they do. Visitors are welcome to drop in to The Hub at Shop 8, 707 Whangaparaoa Rd. Info: firstname.lastname@example.org; facebook.com/Whangaparaoa-Community-Hub; www.whangaparaoa.info; or phone 424 5841.