Corstorphine hub bonds community

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Harvesting fennel from the community garden at Corstorphine Community Hub (from left) community kuia (repected elder) Lynley Hood, chairwoman Mama Taana, co-ordinator Mere Jouanides and founding member Moana Taana.

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 from $31,000 to $55,000, will be used to help with the costs of building community connection and resilience for the next 12 months. In the coming weeks, reporters will be highlighting the programmes and projects the funding will support in your communities. The series continues with Corstorphine Community Hub.

After a Dunedin school closed, a group was launched to keep the community connected.

Corstorphine Community Hub chairwoman Mama Taana, of Corstorphine, said the hub was launched in 2013, in response to the closure of Corstorphine School in 2010.

The closure of the school had “left a gap” in the “one of the poorest” communities in Dunedin.

Hub founding member and gardener Moana Taana, of Corstorphine, said after the school’s closure, the community bonded by getting together each week to play a range of sports, such as touch rugby and volleyball.

The event was the “spark” to bring the community together and for the hub to launch in the hall of the closed school.

The group moved to the Corstorphine Community Hall in Middleton Rd about two years ago.

“It’s become what it should have been – a community centre.”

Hub co-ordinator Mere Jouanides, of Warrington, said the group signed a 25-year lease with the council for the use of the land and “acquired” the building from the Corstorphine Residents Ratepayers Association Incorporated.

Since moving in, the group had improved the hall by reroofing and fencing it, painting the interior, making it watertight and planting a community garden out the back.

The goal of the hub was to bring the community together, Mrs Jouanides said.

The work of the hub members includes advocacy on Mondays, such as helping people enrol for education or to get a driver licence.

On Tuesdays, the hub members help distribute about 100kg of food collected by charity KiwiHarvest.

On Thursday, hub staff get cooking to serve a community lunch.

Other activities at the hub include a youth group and kapa haka groups and a community Christmas function.

The hub was given $43,200 by the Dunedin City Council to assist with operational and project costs for the next 12 months.

The money would pay for the salaries of herself, gardener Moana Taana and cleaner Mikara Bradshaw.

It was the first time the group had applied for the funding and council community adviser Hung Lam had to be acknowledged for his support, she said.

“He’s been absolutely awesome.”