Cam­paign reaches its tar­get

Te Puke Times - - News - By STU­ART WHI­TAKER [email protected]­times.co.nz

Te Puke — you did it!

Te Puke Cen­tre Work­ing Group’s crowd­fund­ing cam­paign to buy the town’s postal ser­vices sur­passed its tar­get of $50,000 in pledges late last week — five days ahead of the ex­tended dead­line.

The work­ing group plans to run the postal ser­vices as a so­cial en­ter­prise re­turn­ing the prof­its to a char­i­ta­ble trust which would run an in­for­ma­tion and visitors cen­tre.

The cam­paign’s ini­tial dead­line was ex­tended to De­cem­ber 5 and that proved piv­otal, says group chair­woman Karen Sum­mer­hays.

“The ex­ten­sion of time gave ev­ery­body who thought it was a good idea the time to say yes,” she says.

At the time of go­ing to press over $61,000 had been pledged mean­ing the fi­nal amount will be sub­stan­tially more than the tar­get set which was the min­i­mum amount con­sid­ered nec­es­sary to move for­ward.

“We are blown away that we got there,” she says, “it’s fan­tas­tic.

“And the other thing that it does is, we now feel as though we have got the en­dorse­ment of most of the com­mu­nity to ac­tu­ally un­der­take what we are plan­ning.

“Be­fore, we didn’t re­ally know whether it was some­thing the com­mu­nity saw value in, but now we re­ally feel like we’ve got the li­cence to op­er­ate and it’s up to us to make it the place we want it to be.”

The next step is to call in the pledges. Those made elec­tron­i­cally will be called in through Pledgeme, while those who made pa­per pledges will be con­tacted by the group mem­bers.

“We can now con­fi­dently go back and en­ter into ne­go­ti­a­tions with New Zealand Post and talk to the landlord and the landlord’s ar­chi­tect about mak­ing the place fit for pur­pose.”

In the New Year, the group will start ap­ply­ing for fund­ing for start­ing the com­mu­nity and in­for­ma­tion cen­tre and to fit out the build­ing.

Group mem­ber Dale Snell’s daugh­ter Hol­lie was crit­i­cally in­jured dur­ing the process, af­fect­ing the whole group.

“I just want to ac­knowl­edge the team, es­pe­cially in some try­ing cir­cum­stances — they all sup­ported each other so well and car­ried on work­ing. It’s a re­ally good team and a hugely priv­i­leged ex­pe­ri­ence so far.”

Karen says as the cam­paign pro­gressed, the mo­men­tum built as peo­ple un­der­stood what the group was try­ing to achieve.

“Ev­ery­body has done their lit­tle bit and we have had a lot of sup­port from out­side the team as well and I want to ac­knowl­edge that — the town seems to have ‘got it’.”

Last week the Gov­ern­ment an­nounced it was ex­plor­ing the op­tion of cre­at­ing “re­gional hubs” for bank­ing and postal ser­vices in pro­vin­cial ar­eas where those ser­vices will soon dis­ap­pear.

Karen says the group would also like the op­por­tu­nity to dis­cuss ways of con­tribut­ing to such re­gional hubs.

“We are blown away that we got there,” says Te Puke Cen­tre Work­ing Group chair­woman Karen Sum­mer­hays.

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