10 months ago

Selwyn Times: February 28, 2018

12 Wednesday

12 Wednesday February 28 2018 Latest Christchurch news at Our People SELWYN TIMES Bev Elder Making sure no one feels In her roles with the Two Rivers Community Trust and Selwyn Civil Defence, Darfield’s Bev Elder has been supporting people in need since the earthquakes. She spoke to Georgia O’Connor-Harding about what drives her to help families in the community Why did you decide to get involved in Two Rivers Community Trust? It was more the other way round. After the earthquakes, the community here established the Malvern Community Hub and for about five months we channelled everything you could think of into the city in convoys. It was everything out of our garden’s pantries and goodness knows what. We did that for about five months and then when things began to settle down a bit more, we realised people wanted to continue helping people and so it evolved into the Malvern Community Hub. From there, the Darfield Baptist Church picked up the need to have the Two Rivers Community Trust so there was a legal entity and other things could grow and happen out of that. Are the Malvern Community Hub and Two Rivers Trust two separate organisations? Two Rivers has got four main streams to it and community support is the stream we are under. I manage that stream for Two Rivers. The hub falls under that along with other things. Tell me about some of the key projects you have been working on lately? Regular programmes we support are the Craft and Cuppa. That is specifically for people who are lonely and need to come out and talk to other people. They can do crafts if they want to, but they don’t have to. It is a chance for lonely people to integrate into a bigger community. The folk from Westmar Senior Care Centre, some of them come along to it. It is just nice to be out and about in the community and meeting other people. Language and Laughter is another one. It came KINDNESS: Two Rivers Community Trust community services stream manager and Selwyn Civil Defence worker Bev Elder helps families in need of support in Malvern. PHOTO: MARTIN HUNTER out of our knowledge there were many migrant women kind of trapped on farms and some of them desperate to have their children get into some kind of pre-school programme so they start learning English. We have had people from South America, Egypt and India. They gather together to do conversational English and help with whatever project they are on about. The Malvern area gets a lot of people coming from overseas? Absolutely. For the women in particular, they can be very isolated on their farms. The husbands can be off to work and he is integrating with others and learning English, but she is at home maybe with a child or two. We have a particular compassion for those women. In your role, what are some interesting things you have learnt that you think others would be surprised to hear? It is certainly around the perception of poverty. Because we think, ‘oh, this is where retired farmers come,’ and retired farmers clearly have a lot of money. There is a misconception about the level of poverty. That is quite an interesting one to tackle. We offer budgeted advice and run the foodbank so we are seeing those people who have hit a speed bump on their road and they are really struggling. But it is interesting to convince other people there is that level of poverty. The other critical element is about housing and the need for social housing. The market sourced system simply doesn’t work. The two are kind of linked. INTERPRETERS NEEDED Enquiries are welcome for scholarships including the George F Hight Scholarship (needs-based). Enrol now for 2019! Ashburton Boarding ROAD SHOWS We look forward to meeting you at one of our 2018 Boarding Road Shows to share with you the family culture which makes boarding so special at St Andrew’s College, Christchurch. Tuesday 6 March 5.00pm–7.00pm Lushingtons Café, 5 Archibald Street Visit for times, locations and to register online. We are recruiting now for our Canterbury Introductory Interpreting course starting in May 2018. Complete the course, pass the assessment and become a paid interpreter with us. You must be proficient in English and preferably one of the following languages: Amharic, Arabic, Cantonese, Dari, Farsi, Japanese, Mandarin, Nepali, Samoan, Sign Language, Sinhala, Somali, Tagalog. For more about training and working with us, go to our website. Applications Close Fri. 09 April 2018 COURSE DATES: INTERPRETING New Zealand Fridays 6:00 p.m - 8:30 p.m. Saturdays 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 a.m. 4 & 5 of May 18 & 19 of May 22 & 23 of June 6 & 7 of July Participants must attend all 5 sessions. Phone Maria: 027 493 1122 Enrol now:

SELWYN TIMES Latest Christchurch news at Wednesday February 28 2018 13 alone in the countryside You don’t always hear a lot about Selwyn’s social situation? One of the difficulties is that the people who have some control are the people who decide what is the poverty level or what is the need for social housing or emergency housing. All of the agencies who support them are distant. They are in the city or they are hidden in bureaucratic places. So out here, we are left to do what can we do. What do you feel needs to be done to improve these situations? There needs to be a clear commitment from the agencies that they will sit around a table and talk to the people who really know what is going on. And explore and discuss until we find the solutions that are available to us. It is really quite simple if you talk to people in their own communities, you find what they need is a change in regulation so you can put a granny flat on the back of your property that is not for a family member but is for somebody else. In Darfield of course, we have a significant proportion of the population that live alone. Sometimes they are living like me in a three-bedroom house on a quarter acre section which is far more than I actually need. But I don’t have any other alternatives. Where can I find small suitable accommodation that doesn’t take it right through the roof? If we had a forum that said how could we deal with this and what is in our power to do that, we could make a big difference I believe. Are there other agencies you would like to talk to? Absolutely. Some of the private organisations that do social housing. I know the Salvation Army is struggling with the definition of ‘need’ and the limitations on that but they are another voice. The agency that controls income subsidies; they need to be sitting around the table as well. WINZ and places like that, and representatives of the health system because everybody knows the healthiest place for a person is in their own home. How do we keep them there? How do we sustain people in their own homes or make it possible to do that? It would have to be a forum that looks at all the aspects. What is the most difficult part of your job? It is a silly thing but really the most difficult part of my job is encouraging people to believe they are not a failure if they have a speed bump in their life and if they need a bit of help they can get it. When they have got over that, they can contribute back. It is just the way a neighbour works with another neighbour. You must feel like you know everyone in the community after working with them so much? Just about, and we work hard to make sure people know we will stop and listen. We will take them seriously. We will find some way – some neighbourly way – of dealing with what the situation is. We recommend to other people, we advocate to other people, we walk alongside people on the journey. Is this your full-time role? I am full-time bossy my family tells me. I have had a long career in teaching and I use aspects of it in what I do now. But, yes, I am retired and busy. How did you come to arrive in Darfield? I am really a North Islander who came down here to Darfield. I think it was about 2003-2004. When I finished my teaching career I wanted to be a bit closer to my children and grandchildren – not too close but close enough that I can join in their lives. Then I thought ‘here I am, what am I going to do?’ And it went from there. And you have been involved in helping the Darfield community ever since? I have a passion for Malvern because it is the biggest but least inhabited and therefore the least serviced part of Selwyn. When people think of Selwyn, they tend to think of the big-bodied population that is Rolleston and the services there. We have got so many villages. They have just as much need and it is just helping them to find a voice or find some strategies that are in their control. If we can do this together we can mange it. You must like being out in the country? Yes, and the other element is because it is rural there is a spirit of generosity – it is just wonderful. We never lack for volunteers; we never lack for contributions to the foodbank or people to help out. People want to be engaged; to be neighbourly; to express that neighbourliness. Has Darfield changed a lot? The demographics are changing; it is growing. There is GOOD WORK: Bev Elder (right) with Darfield Community Garden work group volunteers Bronwyn Adams Hooper and Rhyannon Gregg. The volunteers were preparing to plant heritage apple trees. no doubt about that in different kinds of ways. There is a significant rise in renters rather than home owners. A lot of it does depend on what Fonterra is doing and whether they are in an expansion phase or not. I think the township is poised for more growth. It has certainly got enough capacity to grow. It is hard to know with the forces holding it back from becoming what it could be. I guess the focus is on Rolleston and also probably it has to do with the fact they haven’t resolved the whole issue with the water reticulated system. We feel out here that is being used as a reason to not go ahead with things. What do you like to do in your spare time? I have a very active little dog so walking is one of them. I love working in the Darfield Community Garden that has been established out there. I read heaps and I try to learn something new every year. 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