Southern View: May 28, 2019

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Tuesday May 28 2019 11

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Community benefits from basketball court

Fire rages, homes at risk

A HOON Hay basketball court

has been transformed into a

well-lit community hub, thanks

to a group of motivated young

men.

New floodlights, a sheltered

barbecue area, tiered seating and

extra picnic tables and rubbish

bins have been added to the

basketball court at Hoon Hay

Park, which has also been given a

fresh coat of paint.

The group of 10 Pacific Island

youths involved, who are

now aged 19 and have known

each other since they started

school together at Rowley

Avenue School, are all keen

basketball players and have been

campaigning for improvements

to their local court for four years.

With support from the Cross

Over Trust and Spreydon

Youth Community Trust, they

started fundraising when they

were in their mid-teens before

approaching the Spreydon-

Cashmere Community Board

for help.

They spoke at a board

meeting and later took part in

the city council’s Annual Plan

workshops to advocate for their

ideas, accompanied by their

mums. Their vision was to make

Hoon Hay park a safe, well-used

space, which would be appealing

to all generations of the local

community.

Along with financial support

from the community board and

the city council, they have also

received grants from the Rata

Foundation, Rotary Club and

Lions Foundation.

Michael Pule, 19, who has been

involved since the project began

and is now training to become

a youth worker himself, says he

is proud the group’s ideas have

been listened to and supported.

“The main part for me

is having the adults and

community back us, and now

seeing it coming to life. I’m

pretty pumped that we’ve had

a youth voice and been listened

to and been able to create

a safe environment for the

community.”

Basketball is so popular in

the area that Mr Pule and other

members of the group have

started organising a Hoon Hay

Hoops community basketball

competition. The last event in

2017 attracted about 200 people.

Hoon Hay Hoops will be

held in October using the new

UNDER

LIGHTS:

Zachary Chin

and Owen

Lemusu

make use of

the newly-lit

basketball

court at

Hoon Hay

Park.

grandstand, lighting and other

facilities, and is likely to be even

bigger. The idea has also taken

off in other areas, with a Hornby

Hoops competition under

way and one about to start in

Bromley.

Cross Over Trust community

worker Roy Kenneally said the

youths involved are “stoked”

with the final result after years of

effort.

“It’s a community-led

project and gives power back

to the people, especially in a

community like ours, which has

twice as many kids as most other

suburbs.

“They’re role models for the

next generation and they’ve

shown what can be done when

you take ownership. They’ve

learnt that if you really want

something then you have to work

hard to get it.”

City council community

recreation adviser Emma Pavey,

who has been involved with

the group for several years, said

what they’re doing is “absolutely

exceptional.”

“This is a real grassroots

project that’s been driven

completely by these young

people. Their commitment and

energy is fantastic. They’re so

much fun to be around and

they’re always willing to help

out. They’re quite thoughtful

boys and it’s fantastic that it’s all

coming together for them.”

Mrs Pavey encouraged the

young men to take part in the

city council-run Get Set Go

workshops to learn more about

organising community events.

They have also helped out with

the Hoon Hay Fiesta and the

Rugby League Pacific Series.

“They’ve become really

well-organised and they know

how to run things themselves

now.”

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