Committed volunteers have set up a Bay of Islands Community Centre in Paihia, Bay of Islands. This small CBD serves 3,400 residents (from Opua, Te Haumi, Waitangi and Haruru Falls as well as Paihia), as well as hundreds of thousands of visitors.
While local businesses are great at hosting and entertaining visitors, this community has had no dedicated community facility within which we can interact socially as residents, and to be able to offer the sorts of hobby/interest clubs and services the community told us (via a survey undertaken prior to setting up the Centre), is needed to promote an inclusive, connected community, particularly as visitor numbers climb and the focus of others is on the tourist economy.
There are (liquor) licensed clubs/venues around town, but these are not suitable for our children and youth. Nor are they always comfortable places for many of our senior citizens.
Our local Paihia primary school is Decile 2, and we hear that local youth do not feel welcome in their own town CBD and that they struggle to find employment in the hospitality sector. Our Community Centre offers a welcoming place, in which all are valued and are able to interact with others and participate in affordable activities.
The BoI Community Centre Association (an Inc. Soc) has beavered away, and must continue to, to raise funds to pay our rent and overheads, and while we have managed to furnish the Centre and have begun to grow a diverse programme of activities and services for our community, frankly we have struggled with communications and promotion to our community. We offer a Seniors morning, a Babies & Infants Group (aka the new parents’ club), Toastmasters, AA, Grief & Loss Counselling, Adult Numeracy & Literacy, Bridge for Beginners, a Kids’ Club. We're about to launch Youth Club (led by youth) and a “Stepping into Employment” course. We’ve hosted events:- Boomerang Bags Sewing Bee, Crafting workshop, a Photography course, a First Aid Course, a social, and we intend to host community meetings on interesting topics (e.g. minimising waste to landfill) and a “speakers corner” at regular community picnics.
We would really appreciate an AMI community grant to be able to set up more effective channels for communications with our community, about what our Community Centre is about and the opportunities it offers. We think we really need a dedicated website, and the assistance of a publications whiz to prepare a newsletter template, and to publish a brochure/flyer (for distribution from Medical Centres, sports and other clubs), and perhaps a noticeboard at street level (we are on 1st floor, accessible by lift & stairs) - rather than just on Facebook (31% of our community is over 65yrs of age, and aren't avid Facebook users). We could also use a BIG sign – so people can find the Centre – but first we'd like to run a competition to come up with a better name for our third place. Check the Centre out at…
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