Three things were on the agenda for the Kāpiti Women's Centre when Kāpiti News came for a visit last week.
The first was sharing what the centre is about, second and most importantly thanking the community for their support over the last Covid-filled year, and lastly sharing the needs of the centre at the moment.
"There are still people in our community that don't know what we do, or don't even know that we exist," Kāpiti Women's Centre manager Louise Waterworth said.
Taking over the managing of the centre in 2017 after doing her counselling placement there years earlier, Louise gave up a career in paediatric nursing and private practice counselling to manage the place.
The centre was opened in 1989, moving to their current location in 1991, with a building extension and refurbishment in 2012.
A large part of their operation is providing counselling services, courses, legal help and support during the legal process and being the Women's Refuge provider in the district.
"We are all about women supporting and empowering other women.
"There is often a misunderstanding that the centre is for women who are less privileged or in drastic need but it's for all women regardless of their background and current situation.
"We open Monday to Friday, 9am-3pm. We have our centre workers on the front desk who welcome the women in, make sure they are looked after with a cup of tea.
"They are well trained to provide the initial support and make the appropriate referrals to our counselling services, Women's Refuge or external service providers.
"We have seven volunteer councillors with one more starting in March.
"All of them are volunteers with a variety of different experience."
The counselling service is free for up to eight sessions.
The centre also runs the Women's Refuge service which it took on after the previous organisation providing it moved out of Kāpiti in 2017.
"This was a big change for us, to offer this additional service."
2020 was supposed to be a year of settling after all their services took on a lot of growth and expansion over the previous few years.
But as for many people, last year was challenging for the centre.
"Last year was tough.
"The nature of the centre is that we are in the community, women come to us.
"To do the work we do, which is to sit with a woman and offer her a hot drink, it sounds simple but it's huge.
"To have that service and not be able to do it – trying to work over Zoom was really hard, but we managed it.
"We have always had the support of the community, but last year the support was huge.
"The support from the community, businesses, the Kāpiti Coast District Council, Rotary and Lions groups and the Kāpiti Chamber of Commerce was huge and very humbling.
"We want to say thank you for the support."
In order to continue running a strong service that always has people there to support whatever needs arise, the centre is seeking more volunteers and also has paid positions available.
Part of the reason why more staff are needed is because of a new counselling service the centre is looking to start this year.
"We are looking to expand our counselling services to offer counselling for children that witness domestic violence.
"There is a gap in our community for children's counselling services especially those who have witnessed domestic violence which we are hoping to fill."
For Louise, it's the kaupapa of the place which makes it what it is.
"I love the kaupapa of this place.
"What it means to have this service is huge.
"I'm amazed by the wisdom of the women that started this service over 30 years ago.
"To know that a woman can just walk in here - she doesn't have to have a reason, she can just walk into this space and be surrounded by loving women is amazing."