Since Nurturing the Future opened their Community Hub in Greymouth in February 2010, hundreds of people are welcomed through the doors each week.
The Hub is a gathering place where everyone in the community feels at home. It offers a warm environment for people of all ages and backgrounds, bringing them together to learn through educational workshops, gain support through therapeutic, health and advocacy services, meet friends and have fun.
Trish Hunt, who established Nurturing the Future Trust in 2009, says "We're unique because we offer support and advice anytime. We respond to local need, so if it's a 'stop smoking' course the community wants then that's what we will do. We act on feedback and we have had an overwhelmingly positive response. This week we had 30 women in to have health checks. These women would normally have fallen through the net. They would never have gone to their local doctor."
With its dedicated volunteers and five staff, The Hub is equipped to run such wide-ranging activities as first aid courses, gardening, Tai Chi classes and breastfeeding workshops.
"We do the serious stuff like alcohol and drug education, and have experts to talk about family violence and child advocacy, but we also offer fun. We run movie nights where the whole family comes along for fish and chips. The Hub provides a strong and positive social network for the community," says Trish.
"People have learnt so much through our courses and have been so inspired that they are now teaching others. We develop people's skills and encourage them to share them. This is how the community gives back."
Nurturing the Future has a strong focus on parenting. Mums, dads and families can talk and learn together about issues they face, sharing knowledge and experiences and supporting each other.
Parent-to-parent mentoring has been a huge success, with parent volunteers taking new people under their wing.
"They look after them and give them all the information they need. They tell their own personal stories - sharing knowledge is really empowering for people," says Trish.
One local mum, Mel, credits The Hub for helping her to be a better parent. She says: "I take part in all the courses on offer. Without these I wouldn't have coping mechanisms I need to be a good parent. We are an extended family here. We prop each other up. If I am having a hard time because my daughter's teething and sick, there's always someone to give me advice and support."
Mel's 8-month-old daughter Kira is learning social skills from being around other children. "My daughter has started socialising from a young age. She's developing so many skills."
The Tindall Foundation has contributing funding towards the set-up and general operating costs of The Hub.
For more information contact:
Trish Hunt, Kaitiaki (holder of the vision), Nurturing the Future Trust