'A restorative community is one ' />
Restorative Practices Trust is aiming for Wanganui to be New Zealand's first restorative city.
What does that mean?
"A restorative community is one that builds relationships," says Kath Parnell, facilitator of Community Circles, a Restorative Practices Trust initiative. "So when something negative happens, like neighbours not getting along, for example, we want to repair that relationship - we want to communicate, have that debate and those conversations, process those feelings and move on to healing those relationships," says Kath. "The Trust has got Lotteries funding and hired me to facilitate Community Circles."
Members of the Trust have observed a similar project run in Taranaki where they run quarterly meetings in partnership with their council.
"We're emulating their Community Circle but we're doing it every two months, with the support of groups already working well in our community."
Neighbourhood Community Circles are a way for people to talk together about the challenges and opportunities that affect them as a community. They are local, friendly and constructive.
"We invite four speakers to talk for five to seven minutes each on a particular topic For the first Community Circle we have Tim Metcalfe from Jigsaw - but none of the people is representing where they work but they can talk about their role there if they want to - Lauren Tamehana from the Council, Greg Tichbon and Kelly Scarrow."
The guests will speak and then the session will break into groups of three or four, in which they will talk about what they've just heard or something inspired by the speakers.
"Then we go back into the big circle and everyone has the opportunity, if they wish, to discuss it further."
Focusing on the Gonville / Tawhero area, the first Community Circle meets on two occasions at Rutherford Junior High, tomorrow (Thursday, August 6) and Friday (August 7). It's open to everyone in Wanganui but we're concentrating on the Gonville / Tawhero area because that's where Stone Soup is and we only have limited funding for flyers and such. The vision is that all of Wanganui will be a restorative city."
Kath is hoping that the Community Circles, once set up, will take on a life of their own, attracting people and good speakers along the way. "The one we went to in Taranaki has been going for two years, they had 50 people attend plus we took seven people."
¦The Gonville / Tawhero community circle is being held on two occasions:
When: 7-9pm Thursday, aUGUST 6 and 9.30-11.30am on Friday, August 7.
Where: Rutherford Junior High, 32 Toi Street
For more information contact: Shelly: 06 343 3648 / 027 444 0086 or Kathy: 06 344 7860.