Feed the Streets
After securing funding, media coverage and asking for volunteers in April, we invited those interested in donating their time to 2 information sessions in May. This was an opportunity for us to meet our volunteers and give them a rundown of Feed the Streets: its background, where things were at and what the plan was going forward. We had about 15 people across the 2 meetings and several more that couldn’t attend, but have committed to the project going forward.
From the info sessions, we identified 3 people that we thought would be ideal to form a committee that could steer FTS going forward. Together with Leilani, these 3 – Steph, Melissa and Bryony – have now formed what’s called the “Kaitiaki” (guardians) of FTS. Later, Constable Tony Tatupu accepted our invitation to join the Kaitiaki as well. At the time of writing, we now have a committee of 5 local people that each bring unique skills, knowledge and networks that will help manage and guide FTS as it evolves over time.
In addition to the Kaitiaki, a private Facebook group was created to act as an information hub for our FTS volunteers (request to join here). While the Kaitiaki will primarily communicate via email/phone, our main method of contacting volunteers will be through the group after we established people checked Facebook more regularly than their emails. It’s also a better medium to host group conversations.
Finally in May, we also locked in dates for a FTS trial run and our eventual launch. The trial will be held Friday 9th/Saturday 10th June, before the real deal is up and running Friday 7th/Saturday 8th July, and then those same days every fortnight for the next year. On that note, massive thanks to Jess who helped us book the space we need at the Avondale Community Centre until 2018.
Easter Egg Hunt
Early in the month, we helped Shalema from Community Waitakere run an Easter Egg Hunt and other games for the kids of the Housing NZ complex on Racecourse Pde. After running similar events ourselves for Neighbour’s Day in March/April it was interesting to be part of someone else’s event and see how they do things. I was really impressed with all the games Shalema had to offer and the way she took charge of the kids who were so excited it was like herding cats at times haha. It was also noticeable how close many of the kids seemed with each other; it really felt like a community within a community at the complex. Thanks to Shalema and her family for entertaining some of our local people, and for inviting us along, and shoutout all the people we met on the day.
I attended the Whau Local Board Climathon – a workshop about sustainable community development jointly run by AECOM and Auckland Council. The workshop began with an introduction into the current state of the global climate, the consequences of doing too little and some existing initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions, which was all really insightful. Then for most of the remainder of the session we looked in more detail at opportunities for sustainable projects in the Whau around themes like the built environment, waste/energy and transport. Some of the ideas the attendees came up with were bike rental and repair centres; rooftop gardens in town centres; solar lighting in public areas; co-working office spaces; and a rent-a-kayak service for the Whau River.
Also in May, Leilani went to an event health and safety workshop led by Cathy Knowsley of HiViz Event Management. Leilani said it was really beneficial to look at health and safety ideas and how they can be applied to our FTS initiative.
Whau Youth Awards
The awards were aimed at young people (16-24) that work, live or play in the Whau who have achieved something worthy of recognition – not just those doing well in sports or academics, but also those who had positively contributed to their communities or overcome difficulties in their lives. As part of the Whau Youth Providers Network our association with the event was mainly helping with some of the decision-making behind the scenes and pitching in on the day itself setting up tables, cutting onions etc. I wasn’t there for the awards, but the sis Leilani picked up an award in memory of Vei who I hear was a really important figure in Avondale through his work with Youthtown in particular. Massive congrats to Lays and her fellow award-winners, and to everyone from the network that made the event happen especially master event organiser Deahne.
Just before the month ended we had a brief and informal meeting with Tony from the Neighbourhood Policing Team about potential opportunities for us to work together in 2 areas:
- The homeless/vulnerable – potentially merging FTS with ACES and a wider programme in Avondale supporting our people with food, shelter, clothing etc.
- Activating the old 3 Guys site – the police are now guardians of the space and want to explore ways of making better use of the site
There’s still a lot more groundwork to be done on both of these opportunities and I’ll post about them as more comes to light.