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The Northeast Valley Community Development Project - a joint initiative involving North East Valley Normal School, Sacred Heart School, Dunedin North Intermediate, Jonathan Rhodes Kindergarten, Gardens Montessori and the Islington Early Childhood Centre - aims to improve quality of life by identifying and utilising the area's assets and creating strategies for better community inclusion.
The development stage of the project, which was funded by the Ministry of Social Development, saw project workers Jan Hudson and Vicki McDermott work within the community to collect vast amounts of feedback regarding what valley residents believed would make their community a better place to live.
Ms Hudson said, as a result of their extensive data collection, 11 main areas of concern emerged.
‘‘After the initial areas of concern were identified we worked further with the community to determine which of those issues people considered most important and five key themes were identified.''
‘‘Based on that information we prepared final reports for the six organisations we were initially focusing on and the next step is for the community team, which we recently established, to work on an action plan to deal with those concerns.''
Ms Hudson said the five key themes identified as areas of concern for valley residents were education, housing, environment, social inclusion and community initiatives.
The focus of the community team would now be to facilitate ways for the valley's educational institutions to improve educational outcomes for children, upgrade areas where inadequate housing is impacting on the wellbeing of families, improve the safety and appearance of the valley's physical environment and use existing resources to benefit the community.
‘‘From the beginning, the desired outcome of this project was to be able to hand it over to the community for them to run,'' Ms Hudson said.
‘‘With the establishment of the project team they'll now be able to carry on where we left off, but they are not the total voice of the community - they are merely the facilitators of the desired change and will continue to work with the entire community.''
A community Christmas party has been organised at North East Valley Normal School to report the project's findings back to the community and provide them with something the project identified as being desired by the community - a low-cost community event to foster social inclusion.
• The Northeast Valley Community Development Project's community Christmas party and final report presentation is at North East Valley Normal School from 5.30pm Friday the 12th. Everyone is welcome.