Knock­ing prej­u­dice prime scheme tar­get

Upper Hutt Leader - - NEWS - By SELINA POW­ELL

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.

Photo: SELINA POW­ELL Photo: COLIN WIL­LIAMS

Track­side: The new track from Wal­laceville Rd to the Maid­stone Park ridge­line paths is be­ing im­proved with walk­ing steps.

Change maker:

Com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment fa­cil­i­ta­tor Jan­ice Coldicott.

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