Feed the Streets
Guest numbers have been growing really well and we had our biggest turnout to date, with 32 attending. The majority of these people were returnees as well, which is really encouraging. The strategy to only invite people by word-of-mouth rather than a widespread marketing campaign has resulted in us having a tight-knit group of guests where everyone seems to know at least one other person. Together with our core group of volunteers – some of whom bring their kids – and the growing numbers of families attending, this has really helped create a warm, whanau-like vibe.
When we first started FTS we had envisioned helping some of our streeties towards what Lays’ called ‘healthy independence’. However, it’s clear that some of these guests – especially those with advanced addiction issues – are in need of high level and constant professional help that a fortnightly meal can’t provide. While we can’t necessarily help those at the extreme end of addiction – especially those who aren’t ready to receive it – these guests have told me they really value the food itself and having someone listen to what they’re going through. Providing a safe and welcome environment for people to socialise over food is significant in and of itself for our streeties and other guests, many of whom are struggling financially and/or are lonely so enjoy the company.
In a follow up to our Neighbour’s Day BBQs earlier in the year, we revisited the same streets: Taramea St and Bellgrove Pl. The overarching aim was to build capacity in these streets to run their own neighbourhood BBQs as a way of strengthening the relationships between neighbours. After two events I’m not sure how realistic that goal is and I get the sense that most people aren’t interested in connecting with their neighbours that way (if at all). However, it was a success from other angles, such as showing face in our community, getting feedback about Avondale in general, and more specifically, people’s thoughts on our planned summer activation of the Avondale Intermediate pool.
It was also another opportunity to collaborate with the likes of the NPT, TYLA, Sport Waitakere and ACA, and this time SUPA came onboard to give a free dance performance on Bellgrove, which everyone loved. The money for the BBQ was entirely funded by a long-time Avondale family from Canal Rd who wanted to support us after seeing I Love Avondale’s coverage of the events earlier in the year. Others have expressed a desire to have us bring these BBQs to their streets, namely St George’s Rd and Riversdale Rd.
I Love Avondale
Earlier this year we discussed setting up a regular community newsletter. Over time this has evolved to be more of an extension of I Love Avondale – a ‘digest’ of what’s been shared on the page due for launch early 2018. It will be distributed digitally by email and social media, and be downloadable via ACA’s website. We will also print poster-size copies to stick up around the community on noticeboards, at schools, laundromats etc.
Thank you to Whau Arts broker Melissa Laing who has granted us funds for a graphic designer to create our template. Thanks also to Whau Local Board advisor Mark Allen, who like Melissa has played a role in helping shape what the digest will look like.