Community voice top priority

Working for South D . . . South Dunedin Community Network leaders are delighted with place-based funding of $48,000 for community development in the area. Pictured are (from left) network co-chair Mike Tonks, Steve King, community development facilitator Michell Reddy, community worker Emma Johnson and co-chair Jule Barth.PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

The Dunedin City Council grants subcommittee recently allocated $300,000 in funding to seven “place-based” community groups across the city. The funding, which ranges in amounts from $31,000 to $55,000, will be used to help with the costs of building community connection and resilience during the next 12 months. In an ongoing series, The Star reporters are highlighting the programmes and projects the funding will support in your communities. The series continues this week with the South Dunedin Community Network.

Giving the South Dunedin community a greater voice on issues such as buses, playgrounds and water is a top priority for the South Dunedin Community Network.

Now in its second year, the network is delighted to have received a place-based funding grant of $48,000 towards its work in the community.

Network community development facilitator Michell Reddy and community worker Emma Johnson are focusing on learning as much as they can about the strengths and needs of the South Dunedin community.

“We want to bring everyone into the community conversation, because we feel it’s important that everyone has a voice,” Ms Reddy said.

Operating under the umbrella of Catholic Social Services, the South Dunedin Community Network recently secured office space at 278A King Edward St, which is next to the planned library space.

“Hopefully, we will be able to work in a complementary way with the library, especially in terms of engaging with the community,” Ms Reddy said.

The network hosted two community hui in February, at which water and the planned South Dunedin Library complex were discussed.

“We also had a good conversation around what it means to be a safe community, which is an important issue for many people,” she said.

Network co-chair and Catholic Social Services director Mike Tonks said having Ms Reddy and Ms Johnson on board, and having its own community space, would hopefully help the network engage more easily with local people.

“The space is quite large and has areas that could be used for community meetings, consultations and events, which would be really helpful,” Mr Tonks said.

“It could also be a great creative space.”

Ms Reddy and Ms Johnson have been busy visiting local community groups and businesses in recent months, to build contacts and connections.

“We are very keen to build those networks and relationships, so we can be as effective as possible in working for the community,” Ms Reddy said.

The network recently put out the call for people who are enthusiastic about South Dunedin to join its “Community Crew” as a volunteer.

Being a Community Crew member will include helping advocate for and celebrate South Dunedin, and enabling connections among people in the community.

Interested people are welcome to call in at the network offices, or phone 455-0472.