Community helpers keen to chip in


An organisation that works to help the community is raring to go once national movement restrictions are lifted.

Project Bruce is a community-led development organisation for Milton and the wider Bruce ward area, and co-ordinator Kim Schiller said the need for the facility seemed more apparent than ever.

‘‘The whole coronavirus situation has really highlighted the need for resilience and close-knit support networks within small communities. That’s the whole point of us,’’ Mrs Schiller said.

‘‘We are extremely lucky to have generous, practical groups and individuals who all chip in in times of crisis.’’

As soon as possible the organisation planned to return to a variety of projects that were in progress before the lockdown.

Mrs Schiller said some of these included the Bruce Community Shed, where residents from different trades and practical backgrounds could use a space to create and build.

‘‘The construction of the workshop will continue, and the members will soon be ready to take on community projects.’’

Inquiries and requests from local people were welcomed, she said.

The launch of the Heteroglossia arts publication was almost ready to go to print, she said. The publication gathers poetry, paintings, photography and prose from local contributors to give them a platform and an audience.

Other projects such as skill-sharing workshops in the subjects of health and safety, parenting, meditation and avoiding scams would return.

Project Bruce staff were working from home, keeping in contact with members of the community through Facebook updates.
‘‘We’ve also made sure people know about organisations they can get in contact with if they need help, like St John’s Caring Callers and Meals on Wheels,’’ Mrs Schiller said.

Project Bruce was established by Milton Community Health Trust but the organisation had gone through some changes during the lockdown.

Funding from the Department of Internal Affairs Community Development Scheme ended on March 31, so some of the existing steering committee members formed the Project Bruce Charitable Trust.

‘‘The new trust has been formed in order to apply for grants without being in competition for funding with the Tokomairiro Community Hub, which is also under the umbrella of [the trust],’’ Mrs Schiller said.
Both organisations would continue to work from the Hub building when things returned to normal.

The lockdown had the benefit of allowing staff time to get a lot of paperwork organised for their return, she said.