Every community needs a Natalie – Mosgiel’s Murray Street community has struck gold with theirs.
Natalie was a driving force behind last year’s Murray Street Block Party… and she’s a driving force behind this year’s bigger, better, brighter Murray Street Block Party.
She’s helped to build up volunteer helpers, got the local kindy on board and delivered hundreds of pamphlets to make sure that the Block Party this year lives up to and exceeds the high standard set by last year’s event. And that goal looks to be right on track.
Natalie successfully applied for a $500 grant from the Dunedin City Council, so $300 of that has covered barbecue food, drinks and surprises for the children from Countdown – and the balance has gone towards gifts and chocolate for the chocolate wheel for children. Housing New Zealand and Natalie have enlisted the support of a long list of sponsors for the event.
Natalie was instrumental in the success of last year’s event and the positive feedback from the community has spurred her on – as she says “We put some paper out for people to give us feedback and ideas and lots of families said how great it was and how much fun they had. The kids who couldn’t write drew pictures and it was great to see that the Syrian refugees who didn’t have English wrote their feedback in Arabic”
So what is the motivation behind Natalie’s drive? “We wanted the community and Murray Street to have a better name than it has in the past and we wanted everybody just to get to know each other and work together as a street”. Like most successful ideas it’s simple and direct.
Natalie’s not one to rest on her laurels. As a matter of fact ‘rest’ is a word you’d struggle to find in her vocabulary – this sole parent’s five children, ranging in age from 13 to 3 make sure of that. Add to that her untiring drive to improve and enrich her community and there aren’t too many spare moments left.
“You just make time”, she says in typically modest fashion, “I help a lot down at the kindy and try to go to school trips… I just like doing it. I like helping people and I like being busy”.
And soon her already busy schedule will become a lot busier. Thanks in part to the local community profile she’s earned for herself, Natalie has been offered a part time job with the East Taieri church – she signed the contract on Thursday.
The 300 invitations have gone out in both English and Arabic, to reach the refugees who’ve recently settled in the community, the food, drink, fun and entertainment are all organized – all that’s left is for Murray Street community residents to be at the Murray Street Park between 11am and 3pm and prepare to have a family fun time. And they’ll also be helping to celebrate Natalie’s daughter’s eighth birthday.
With Housing New Zealand’s help, Natalie is determined to make this a real family festive occasion and just as determined that it should be stress free for everyone who comes along, so it’s all free, thanks to the huge level of support given by a long list of sponsors:
- Countdown Mosgiel
- Good as Gold Mosgiel
- Harvey Norman
- Leap Dunedin
- Living N Party
- Mitre 10 Mega
- Monarch Wildlife Cruises
- My Mate John (Furniture Company)
- Orokonui Ecosanctuary
- Paper Plus (Mosgiel)
- Pizza Bella
- Pulse Energy
- Soap Heads
- Stirling Sports
- Taieri Gorge Railway
- Taieri Rotary
- The Warehouse
- Video Tech