Grow­ing com­mu­nity sup­port for Tahu­nanui

The Leader (Nelson) - - FRONT PAGE - SA­MAN­THA GEE

Cook­ing classes and dance ses­sions for mums and bubs are just some of the ac­tiv­i­ties keep­ing Nel­so­ni­ans en­ter­tained in the new Tahu­nanui Com­mu­nity Cen­tre.

Cen­tre man­ager Judy Robin­son said the pro­file of the cen­tre on Mu­ri­tai St had grown so much in the past eight months that it now had peo­ple drop­ping in ev­ery day.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion moved into the build­ing, for­merly home to the Pasi­fika Trust, in Oc­to­ber last year af­ter it was pur­chased by the Nel­son City Coun­cil.

Robin­son said the move had been six years in the mak­ing and since then, the cen­tre had gone from strength to strength.

There are about 10 full­time and part-time staff mem­bers, in­clud­ing so­cial work­ers, youth work­ers, teach­ers and com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment staff.

When the ac­tiv­ity pro­gramme be­gan in Jan­uary 2017 there were 14 reg­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties, now there are more than 20.

The num­ber of peo­ple drop­ping in had also in­creased dra­mat­i­cally since it had moved into the new build­ing.

Pre­vi­ously, the com­mu­nity cen­tre con­sisted of of­fices and a meet­ing room based in the preschool build­ing next door.

‘‘Before we had the chil­dren’s cen­tre and the two gates to get through so we didn’t get so many, but now we have daily drop ins.’’

A room at the back of the hall was be­ing de­vel­oped into a health suite and it was hoped a so­cial worker and com­mu­nity nurse would be able to use the space in the fu­ture to see peo­ple for ap­point­ments.

Dis­tribut­ing food parcels had also be­come an in­te­gral part of the ser­vice.

The cen­tre ran a food re­cov­ery pro­gramme to save un­sold pro­duce and bak­ery items from Rich­mond Fresh Choice and the Fresh As Bak­ery in Tahu­nanui.

‘‘Peo­ple come ev­ery day for food; it also brings in peo­ple to talk about other things.’’

Robin­son said more peo­ple were also vol­un­teer­ing.

‘‘I hadn’t an­tic­i­pated how in­volved the com­mu­nity would get. We have some peo­ple who come in and take fit­ness classes and cook­ing classes, they do all sorts of things.

‘‘It’s the peo­ple in the com­mu­nity that are work­ing for the other com­mu­nity mem­bers; I think that is a huge thing.’’

MARTIN DE RUYTER/ THE LEADER

Judy Robin­son at the Tahu­nanui Com­mu­nity Cen­tre.

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