Start with a smile in Ash­bur­ton

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - ERIN TASKER

Start with a smile, fol­low it up with a chat, and get to know the peo­ple who make the Ash­bur­ton com­mu­nity what it is.

That’s the aim of a new cam­paign launched last week by the Ash­bur­ton Dis­trict Coun­cil called Start with a Smile, and it’s hoped it will help make new­com­ers to the dis­trict feel more wel­come.

The new Start with a Smile cam­paign aims to make the Ash­bur­ton Dis­trict more wel­com­ing to new­com­ers, through en­cour­ag­ing lo­cals to smile and start a con­ver­sa­tion with some­one from a dif­fer­ent back­ground, whether it’s at work, school or wait­ing in line at the su­per­mar­ket.

Start with a Smile was first run last year in Christchurch, by the Can­ter­bury Em­ploy­ers’ Cham­ber of Com­merce, in re­sponse to the large num­ber of overseas re­build work­ers in the city.

Ash­bur­ton Dis­trict Coun­cil took the cam­paign up as part of its lead­ing role in the new­comer and mi­grant set­tle­ment work pro­gramme un­der the Can­ter­bury Re­gional Economic De­vel­op­ment Strat­egy.

Ash­bur­ton Dis­trict Coun­cil’s com­mu­nity re­la­tions man­ager Vin­cie Bil­lante said Ash­bur­ton’s pop­u­la­tion was be­com­ing more eth­ni­cally di­verse, with strong com­mu­ni­ties now from places like the Philip­pines, Pa­cific Is­lands, In­dia and South Amer­ica.

‘‘Start with a Smile is all about get­ting to know the new peo­ple in Ash­bur­ton, whether they are your col­league, class­mate or neighbour. We’re en­cour­ag­ing lo­cals to be wel­com­ing, just by start­ing with a sim­ple smile.’’

The fo­cal point of the cam­paign will be a blue ‘Smile Couch’ – a place where lo­cals and new­com­ers can sit down and get to know each other - which comes equipped with cards with ques­tions to ask on them. The couch will travel around the dis­trict to events, pub­lic places, com­mu­nity spa­ces, work­places and schools. Ash­bur­ton res­i­dents will also be en­cour­aged to host their own Start with a Smile event.

‘‘A potluck lunch, fam­ily sports day or even just invit­ing the new­est em­ployee to af­ter-work drinks can all con­trib­ute to mak­ing new­com­ers feel at home here,’’ Bil­lante said.

She said a smile was a uni­ver­sal lan­guage that broke down bar­ri­ers, and it was hoped it would do just that in the Ash­bur­ton Dis­trict.

The cam­paign will run through un­til March, and is also be­ing picked up by other Can­ter­bury coun­cils.

ERIN TASKER/FAIRFAXNZ

So­phie-Claire Vi­o­lette and twins Taiwo and Ke­hinde Ge­orge try out the Start with a Smile couch.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.