Featuring: Sara Mason, Community Activator Future Whangaparaoa Trust and Whangaparaoa Community Hub Manager
We asked Sara what were some of the qualities she felt she brought to her role.
“I’m a natural networker, I love helping and connecting people and being around others that are striving to make a positive difference in the community. I have worked in roles supporting the community for many years and this role is a great fit for me. I’m also mum to three kids (17, 13 and 11).”
When asked about who the Trust is and the motivation behind it Sara told us Future Whangaparaoa Trust was established by a group of community members who wanted to work together to see positive outcomes for the community. Their vision is for a strong, safe and supported Whangaparaoa Peninsula community, one which is violence free and well connected, cares about health and well-being, values and supports young people, supports local business and innovation, and values and cares for our beaches, streams and bush.
The Trust established the Whangaparaoa Wellbeing Network, to connect community organisations, social services and other community supports like the Police and schools.
From the early meetings a need for a community space was identified as a key priority for Whangaparaoa. A working group formed, made up of The Family Centre Trust, Future Whangaparaoa Trust and several social service providers. The decision was made to trial a pop-up hub in a leased premise, and for it to be a collaborative space including community organisations, social services, local business and the individual residents.
With funding support from the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board, Future Whangaparaoa Trust were able to contract someone in the role of Community Activator, and that’s me. I assisted with the set-up of the hub and manage its’ day-to-day running. My role also includes coordinating the Whangaparaoa Wellbeing Network, supporting local organisations, fostering collaborations and delivering community events.
We asked Sara what she found most rewarding about what she does.
“I get to see the good that people are doing and connect with people who are very committed to helping and supporting our community. I know the work I do is adding value, and I feel very fortunate to have a role I enjoy so much”.
Sara tells us “The Hub is a thriving community asset and has potential to be much greater. The focus is now on the establishment of a permanent purpose-built hub for Whangaparaoa. This is no small task and a lot of funding needs to be found, but such an exciting and worthwhile project to be part of.”
Sara is also looking forward to delivering the Future Whangaparaoa Trust signature event “A Very Coastie Christmas” for a second year. This year the family friendly Christmas celebration will be held at Manly Park on Sunday 8 December. The event will include live music and entertainment, free activities, food trucks and a wonderful artisan market.
Sara said “This event is about bringing people together and fostering closer community connections. It’s a lot of work, requiring support and buy-in from a range of individuals and organisations, and creative thinking when it comes to resourcing, but it’s so rewarding helping to bring some fun and connection to our community.”
You will find the Whangaparaoa Community Hub at 5 Link Crescent, Stanmore Bay. If you are seeking a service you can find full details the the website at whangaparapa.info and through the Whangaparaoa Community Hub Facebook page or contact Sara on email@example.com.
For local business owners you can also join Business Whangaparaoa, the new business association for the Peninsula developed from the Trust. See details at businesswhangaparaoa.info.