Community forum to discuss future of Connect South

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A diverse group of organisations from across the social sector has signed up to attend a “community conversation” about the future of Connect South.

Organisers of the meeting, to be held on Monday at Dunedin City Library, told The Star about 40 people had registered so far.

Connect South has been through chaos since December, when it pulled out of managing Community House, citing funding issues, and suffered a mass walkout of staff.

New Connect South board chairman Graeme Sykes believes it is time to move towards making vital decisions about the future for Connect South (formerly Dunedin Council of Social Services), which has supported Dunedin not-for-profit organisations since 1980.

Independent group Dunedin Community Builders has agreed to use its expertise to facilitate a frank discussion among the broader community sector during Monday’s workshop/forum. The session will be led by experienced group facilitator Jan Hudson.

Forum organisers are pleased at the diversity of those joining the conversation, including representatives of social service, community development, health, disability, arts, environment, local runanga, and ethnic communities.

Mr Sykes was “pleased and excited” to have the support of Dunedin Community Builders for the process, and said it was important to “look at the big picture”.

“And I am excited at the possibility that we will get something out of the conversation that will rejuvenate the organisation and get it up and going again.”

In the latest Connect South “Connections” newsletter, released on Tuesday, Dunedin Community Builders said all community organisations were facing another round of tremendous change through the Labour-led Government.

The future of Connect South will be decided by its board and members at the annual meeting in September this year.

The open forum will be held on Monday, July 23, from 1pm to 4pm, in the Dunningham Suite, Dunedin City Library. RSVP to dunedincommunitybuilders@ gmail.com