Knocking prejudice prime scheme target
A project to ‘‘ break down prejudices’’ in Upper Hutt is to receive $240,000 in government funding.
Prison Fellowship New Zealand successfully applied for the funding through the Department of Internal Affairs’ community development scheme last year.
The money will pay for the salary and project costs of an Upper Hutt-based community development facilitator over the next three years.
Prison Fellowship New Zealand national breakaway manager Philippa Wells said the focus of the project was broader than encouraging acceptance of former inmates.
Mrs Wells said people often excluded former prisoners because of a lack of understanding.
‘‘It’s the exact same thing that causes them not to include other marginalised people.’’
Community development facilitator Janice Coldicott said the project would look to boost acceptance of low income groups, migrant communities and people with mental health problems as well as former inmates.
‘‘ The idea is to break down prejudices and for Upper Hutt to become a more inclusive community.’’
Miss Coldicott has previously worked as a community worker at the Downtown Community Ministry and with the New Zealand Probation Service. She trained as a social worker at Massey University in 2007 after leaving a career in banking to pursue a more ‘‘people-focused’’ career.
Miss Coldicott said she expected to focus on building relationships and research during her first year as community development facilitator.
‘‘I think to have a strong foundation for this project to continue you’ve got to do the groundwork first. Community development is a long piece of string.’’
She said she was open to work- ing with Upper Hutt City Council, which already has a community development team.
‘‘There’s no point in reinventing the wheel.’’
Upper Hutt City Council community services director Andrea Curtis said the council tended to work with groups, while Miss Coldicott would be working directly with individuals and families.
She hoped information gathered through the project would be of use to council and support a case for more government spending on social services in Upper Hutt in the future.
Keen to talk? Community development facilitator Janice Coldicott has a regular slot at Trentham Community House where people can talk to her about their experiences in Upper Hutt. If interested, head along to Trentham Community House (71 Merton St, Trentham) from 1pm till 3pm on Wednesdays and 10am till noon on Fridays.
Trackside: The new track from Wallaceville Rd to the Maidstone Park ridgeline paths is being improved with walking steps.
Community development facilitator Janice Coldicott.