Tenants from Wellington City Council celebrated the recent national Neighbours Day with a streamlined ‘tenants summit’.
Held at Te Papa and with buses provided to get people there, more than 200 tenants were watched Billie Tait-Jones’ Moving Waiata – a rousing melody focused on the importance of ‘the people’. Then came morning tea with a series of workshops to follow.
This is where Volunteer Wellington came into the picture, working alongside TimeBank. ‘Ways we can connect and feel our skills and talents are of use to someone or some group is important to us all,’ said Hannah who organises ways that people can trade with ‘pieces of their time and talents.’
One of the several stories we told to our keen audience of all ages, all skill sets and from several Wellington locations, was about Celia Derby from a WCC block of flats in Kilbirnie. This extract from her profile from Volunteer Wellington’s Volume 3 publication called Stories about volunteers and volunteering says it all;
Celia has taught the piano and for some years played keyboards in a rock an’ roll band known as The Roadsters. During recent years she has become unwell. She talks openly about the anxiety which has put a stop to much of her past work and meant several years as a beneficiary.
When she came into Volunteer Wellington to find a volunteering role she emphasised that her main need now was to be productive ‘instead of doing nothing worthwhile with my time’.
The suggested position was at The Hope Centre (run by the Salvation Army) in Newtown. This is an organisation dedicated to giving support to those who often live on the margins of society.
As luck would have it on the day she went to discuss possible roles, a donated piano arrived. ‘Yes, I could play the piano,’ said Celia. ‘Now I’ve fallen in love with The Hope Centre. I am now committed to that one hour once a week – with the occasional break.’
Her playing adds a gentle ambiance to a place which is fresh and inviting to all; and which she calls ‘a sanctuary.’
Volunteer Wellington’s role to connect people with other people reaches into every facet of society. Congratulations to Wellington City Council for creating an event at which so many neighbours met each other and learnt more about how to keep connecting – on Neighbours Day…and beyond.