Kia ora everyone,
Well, it is time for me to say goodbye. Tomorrow is officially my last day in the job; however, I won’t be in the office at all tomorrow – instead I will attend Coffee & Conversation at the Uniting Parish church premises at 4 Augusta Street, Redcliffs at 10.30am if you would like to drop in to say goodbye.
I have worked as a community development worker in your community since 2008. If you have attended the annual Carols (since 2010), Mini Music (2009-2018), Loopy Tunes (2018 onwards), visited the Sumner Community Gardens or Food Forest, seen a copy of the Redcliffs Community Directory (2015), or the Bays Area Community Directory (2018 and 2020), visited the Redcliffs Community Shed (we were the umbrella organisation until 2015, and played a significant role in supporting this to start up), visited the Redcliffs Information Centre once it was ensconced in the shop on Beachville Road (2012 and 2013) or attended the Sumner Art & Craft Market from 2007-2010, Coffee & Conversation in Redcliffs (2008 -), Tea & Talk in Sumner (2012-) or even our Happy Hour which started in November 2019 at the Uniting Church on Augusta Street, Redcliffs, you have come into contact with projects the Trust has played a significant part in establishing, resourcing or supporting. If you or your older relatives have been supported by Maree McGovern, our wonderful local Older Persons’ Worker, I have been there in the background managing her and finding funding on behalf of Sumner Bays Union Trust to keep this service operating. If you were part of the consultation that was run regarding Linwood College in 2016, I was a part of the team behind that, and if you are involved in the Sumner Silver Band, I have assisted in finding funding for hall hire and new instruments since 2011.
It would be entirely false for me to take full credit for any of these things. The trust board, the volunteers and contractors or employees who have run these projects and continue to, very ably, do so, are, for the most part, people from this community itself, and they have been the backbone of all of these things. Community development is about walking alongside a community in a supportive empowering manner, and I hope that this has been what I have done.
I will miss many wonderful people whom I see on a day to day basis including the team at Matuku Takotako Sumner Library, Sumner Hub, Coffee Culture, the super accepting parishioners of the Uniting Parish in Redcliffs, the trustees I have worked so closely with over the years, and even the littlies who know me as “Banana Eddie” at Loopy Tunes. Together we have worked to shape a community to be stronger, more compassionate, and supportive of people at every stage of their life.
If you need to contact the trust for some reason, the office email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) will be regularly monitored by trustees. Maree checks the office voicemail regularly and will pass on important messages to trustees. The phone number is (03) 376-4020.
Our regular activities will continue. I have put in place arrangements to cover anything that I would usually have done, and Liz and Deirdre will be keeping an eye on anything funding-related. The recruitment process for my successor will begin in due course.
Finally, some people to acknowledge:
The current board: Deirdre Johns (Chair), Liz Goodrich (Treasurer), Peter Croft, Lydia MacKinnon, Susan Kaschula, Deborah Rhode and Mark Gibson.
At this point I must acknowledge the three wonderful people who are responsible for authorising internet banking payments and are signatories on the Trust’s bank accounts. For a task that could be rather mundane and boring, we have livened it up with Deirdre coining the phrase ‘Authorisation Fairies’ as the collective noun. Deirdre has accepted the moniker ‘The Flying Monkeys Handler’ with great humour, Susan has dubbed herself the ever appropriate ‘Garden Gnome’ (she’s one of the fantastic leaders of the Sumner Community Gardens & Food Forest) and Liz dubbed herself the ‘The Grinch’ . I have been proud to be your Funding Sorcerer (thanks Deirdre for the name!), and I truly hope the next person in my role is as imaginative. In community development, it helps to have a well-developed sense of humour because people are intrinsically funny in every sense of the term.
I honoured all past trustees and key volunteers at our 10th birthday celebration in October 2018 so I won’t go into further detail here except to say that without Rodney Routledge and Noeline Allan taking a chance on me, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
A big thank you to all the community development people in the area – there has been a mass exodus to other places and priorities lately but Charlie, Liza, Marnie, Nikki, Mark and the team at the Sumner Community Residents’ Association’s Sumner Hub and Gareth Davies and the team at Fuse Youth Centre continue to work so hard for the community Thank you so much. Thank you to everyone who has worked with me on so many projects. Far too many of you to thank individually.
I have a personal rule never to mention this in the public arena in my work life, but today I would like break that rule to acknowledge all the people who have been so accepting of me since I began to transition from female to male at the end of 2010. Working in a community development, public-facing capacity can be challenging. Coming out transgender in such a role is huge. Thank you to everyone for accepting me as I am. It means a great deal to me. Even if you never said a word to me about it, the fact that we continued to work together well matters. Thank you.
Haere ra. Goodbye.
Ngā mihi nui,
Community Development Team Leader
Sumner Bays Union Trust