Plunket has teamed up with The Southern Initiative in Manurewa to begin creating a welcoming space designed by and for local whānau.
Plunket Community Development Manager Clare Green says the project began in 2017 and there has been some great insights and surprises. “It’s not really about how can you engage with these families, but how can we get to a point where they want to engage with us.”
Clare says many families have “layers of toxic stress”, such as, cold and damp housing and low incomes, which increases the challenge. Developing trusting relationships and creating a warm welcoming space – like a home – are key.
“It’s meant that we have been able to create something really welcoming and inviting, something vibrant and warm and safe, and a place people can relax and meet other parents.”
The Southern Initiative’s Social Intrapreneur Angie Tangaere says the challenge is focusing on making a difference for those who need the most support. “So we went through a design process about what we could do to give tamariki the best start in life.”
Angie says the process was pioneering and challenged many practices and paradigms by being whanau-led rather than expert-led.
“Plunket has been really courageous. What it means in terms of design methodology is that we are putting family and community at the centre of the process.
“Most organisations will make assumptions about what communities and families need and do the planning and design themselves based on those assumptions. What we have tried to do is have whānau actively engage in how we create a warm and welcoming space.”
The exercise has revealed that lots of parenting takes place outside the home in Manurewa. Angie says there is an opportunity for Council and Plunket to consider how their venues are available “for people who are out and about parenting – if they just want to hang out”.
Work on the Manurewa Plunket Centre’s redevelopment has started and both Angie and Clare are hopeful that whānau will now help bring some of their ideas to fruition, such as creating a mural on the centre’s exterior and also in volunteering to welcome whānau into the centre.
The centre redevelopment is scheduled to be completed by Christmas.
26 September 2018