Berhampore community centre celebrates first birthday14 March 2017
Birthday cake, a sausage sizzle and performances will all be part of the celebrations this Friday when Berhampore’s Community Centre marks its first birthday.
The centre, which was opened by the then Social Housing Minister Hon Paula Bennett last year, is based at Housing New Zealand’s heritage-status Centennial Flats in Adelaide Road.
Hundreds of Berhampore residents, including tenants of the complex, have used the centre since then for all kinds of activities, including dance and exercise classes, public talks and seminars, and as a venue for private celebrations.
The centre was created as part of a larger $7m refurbishment of the complex in 2014 and 2015, which included seismic strengthening, interior and exterior painting, new kitchens and bathrooms, and landscaping.
“When the complex was built, it included a circular shaped hall right in the centre which at the time was designed to provide a communal space for tenants to socialise,” Housing New Zealand Area Manager Alice Daniel-Kirk says.
“In recent decades it had been converted into a residential unit – but as part of the upgrade we decided to work with tenants and the community to see what they thought about us bringing it back to life as a communal space – this time not just for tenants but also the wider community.”
Alice says that support for the concept from the community and tenants was overwhelming, and Housing New Zealand joined in partnership with Wellington City Council and Berhampore School to help make it happen.
“We could not have made this happen without their help – while we had the venue, we needed help to ensure we were able to make it work effectively, and that’s where Wellington City Council and Berhampore School came in.”
Today, the centre is a hub for many different activities and classes each week, and is managed by a permanent coordinator based at the centre, Merio Marsters.
“It’s been a huge success, and I can honestly say I truly love my job,” Merio says.
“The best part is seeing the strength of Berhampore’s community spirit and working with all the great volunteers, community members and residents who are helping to keep it a vibrant, thriving space.”
The first birthday celebrations will kick off at 4pm on Friday 17 March, finishing at 6pm. There’ll be cake, a sausage sizzle and demonstrations of the different activities run out of the centre. All are welcome.