Postal services in Te Puke will be in new hands from October 7.
The Te Puke Centre Charitable Trust's subsidiary company, Te Puke Centre Ltd, will become the operator of the NZ Post postal and payment services in Te Puke.
It means the services will continue from the same site that has hosted a postal services in the town for over 125 years.
The goal of establishing a visitor, information and resource centre was set in 2017. The
announcement that Kiwibank would be closing its Te Puke branch and New Zealand Post was to look for an alternative way of offering postal services in June last year presented an opportunity.
Te Puke Centre Working Group started a successful crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to take over postal services in the town. The idea was for the services not to be relocated, but be offered alongside a new information and visitor centre.
"It is very exciting to see something that we conceived just two years ago is now coming to fruition,'' says trustee Monique Lints.
''It has been a huge voluntary effort by all the trustees to get this across the line and we are grateful to have received fantastic support along the way.
''This is quite a milestone for the people of the Te Puke area who contributed to the crowdfunding campaign late last year that has enabled us to make this acquisition."
The centre will open with full postal and bill pay services including the PO boxes and it will retain the KiwiBank ATM so it will be business as usual, although the layout of the inside of the building will be changed during a short closure period in the lead-up to October 7.
The change is to allow the information and visitors centre and co-working spaces to be developed as funding is secured over the next year.
"The trust has prioritised the postal deal to meet tight deadlines and ensure a largely uninterrupted postal service to the public,'' says trust chairwoman Karen Summerhays.
''There is still a way to go to achieve the trust's full vision to create a vibrant community asset. We will take it step by step making sure we have community and funders' support as we go."
A number of organisations have already expressed their interest to operate from the centre in the future.
''There are opportunities for sponsorship and in-kind contributions and we welcome enquiries as to how you can help, including letting us know if you would like volunteer in the centre.
''We are proud of our innovative approach to the provision of a much needed community asset in Te Puke. I believe we are creating a model for other communities to embrace to provide their own social infrastructure needs," Karen says.
Te Puke Centre Charitable Trust Trustees are Monique Lints, Dale Snell, Jenny Wotten, Nicola Cooke, Viv Brownrigg and Karen Summerhays.
To contact the trust either send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Karen on 021 0437858.
August 2017: Monique Lints and Dale Snell start to explore the idea of a visitor/information/resource centre for Te Puke.
September 2017: Te Puke Community Board agrees to make a grant of $2515 to the centre steering group for a scoping report.
December 2017: Scoping report presented to Te Puke Community Board.
June 2018: NZ Post and Kiwibank announce plans to close the existing post office in Jellicoe St.
November 2018: A Pledgeme campaign is launched as the first step in purchasing the postal services business to be run as a social enterprise.
December 2018: The campaign passes its target of $50,000.
May 2019: Successful negotiations ensure postal services will remain in the current location.