Ambassadors positive for Flaxmere

By Alice Lock

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Jacoby Poulain.
Jacoby Poulain.

The successful Hastings City Assist ambassador scheme has extended its reach in to Flaxmere this week.

Flaxmere councillors Henare O'Keefe and Jacoby Poulain hosted a community meeting where residents and businesses called for greater security and help with safety issues in the community.

Henare O'Keefe.
Henare O'Keefe.

They wanted to create a vibrant and safe CBD and, with the backing of the Hastings District Council, introduced "Flaxmere Assist".

Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule said the scheme in Hastings had been widely supported by retailers so they wanted to take a similar approach for Flaxmere.

"This programme should ensure that the community is safer while also empowering and supporting the businesses around the CBD," Mr Yule said.

Ms Poulain said it was clear through their interaction and presence that the Hastings ambassadors had contributed to a positive improvement in the feeling and atmosphere around the city.

The Flaxmere patrol would replicate the Hastings programme, providing an authoritative presence.

They were also there to act as a guide for people who displayed any unsociable behaviour.

"They would be able to help settle disputes, and pass on details to the police where necessary," Ms Poulain said.

The ambassadors would also give "friendly and helpful" assistance to the community.

"Flaxmere Assist" would take place in the central shopping village as well as the surrounding areas such as the park and the community centre.

Mr O'Keefe said most of the ambassadors lived in Flaxmere.

That meant they had a very good understanding of the issues and how to deal with them.

The community was holding a pōwhiri at the Te Aranga Marae on Wednesday, September 7 to welcome and embrace the new role models.

"We want to show them that they belong to us and that it is a time to celebrate, as the mantra of Flaxmere is about healing oneself," Mr O'Keefe said.

Ms Poulain said that a vibrant and safe CBD was a top priority for Flaxmere.

Now the City Assist programme meant they were one step closer to achieving this.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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