Hi people

Thanks for the input into Tuesday’s meeting. It was a good rubber stamp on our strategic focus actually – issues of leadership and communication still top our list and as ever, our community groups need all the support they can get. Just a reminder, if your community was interested in putting together a brief overview of what you may feel were the benefits of having some kind of community based facility in you area, flick the ideas through to me. There are no promises at this stage but it is the best time to capitalise on the interests of a lot of different organisations.

Two things have really stood out for me this week.

  1. The amount of duplication of thought, planning, innovation and activity is astounding. I have come across so many examples of it this week alone and it is frustrating. CanCERN definitely needs to lead by example and start to bring the right players to the right table at the right time for the right discussions. Based on our leading by-line, ‘the wisdom of the community always exceeds the knowledge of the experts’, we are generally going to be at least one of the right people at the table so why not lead!
  2. Residents and communities are falling down all over Canterbury whether they are from the ‘worst affected suburbs’ or not. I have heard many stories of the struggles of community leaders to engage with passive residents and stories of community workers and leaders too tired to hold themselves up let alone others. We need to make sure our leaders have opportunities to be inspired, cared for and motivated. If you want to put some thinking into how this may happen or how you see the role of the community person CanCERN is looking to employ, please give me a yell. All inspirational ideas are welcomed!

I was asked to speak to people in the Canterbury Museum about an exhibition they are putting together for the 22 February anniversary. We were discussing what has happened to the human spirit over the course of the last 15 months and what a recovered (recovering) spirit would look like in time and it made me think about the opportunity we have to assess how we relate to one another in communities. This earthquake has offered an opportunity to be more connected but we run the risk of losing that opportunity out of pure exhaustion. Isn’t now, as we look to strengthen our community groups a good time to ask ‘what is it that the people in your community most need from one another to be able to start recovering their spirits?’ Philosophical rubbish I hear some of you mumble but I believe this will work in some way towards shaping our organisation, how and where we relate as a network and where we choose to put our energies in terms of ensuring systems are in place for communities to participate and contribute.

I have been sitting on a funding panel as ‘community intelligence’ this week. It’s been very interesting to sit on the other side of the funding discussion but also exciting to see some of the initiatives that are being proposed in Canterbury. Sharing ideas like this will limit duplication so if you hear of anything particularly exciting going on in the communities earthquake recovery, flick me some info. If we can learn about some of these initiatives, we can be inspired to join or kick start something in our own patch.