Rural halls a hit in Franklin

Publish Date : 31 Oct 2017
Rural halls a hit in Franklin1
Franklin Local Board member Malcolm Bell, left, handed over the keys to the chair of the Orere War Memorial Hall committee chair Edward Pram in 2015.

It’s been two years since the rural communities of Beachlands, Maraetai and Orere took charge of running their local hall, a move proving a hit with users. 

The three hall committees were handed the keys to the council-owned facilities back in 2015.  This is part of Auckland Council’s rural halls strategy to empower rural communities to look after the halls in a way that responds to their needs. 

And soon another will join the ranks with Franklin Local Board recently granting the Kawakawa Bay Community Association Incorporated a license to occupy and manage the Kawakawa Bay Community Hall.  It also approved a funding agreement with a start-up payment of $1000.

Under the rural halls initiative, the council is responsible for capital and renewal works, and major maintenance, while the hall committee manages the day-to-day operations and bookings for the hall.

The Franklin Local Board is a big supporter of the rural halls strategy and is keen to see more groups taking up the opportunity.

“We are delighted to see this model is working and delivering on what people asked for, which was more flexibility and easier access to their local halls. Instead of sitting idle, they’re once again central hubs in the community,” says Franklin Local Board chair Angela Fulljames. 

Familiar faces key to Orere success

Orere War Memorial Hall committee secretary Gary Healey shares duties with treasurer Nicky Schwarz and chairman Edward Pram and says his community appreciates having much easier access to the hall.

“Booking is dead simple and having contacts living locally means we are readily available for queries. The committee chairman and I are both well-known, so nobody has to deal with strangers on the end of the phone.”

While Orere is a very small community, the hall is home to users including yoga, zumba and boot camp arts, functions, a movie set, mosaics classes and workshops. It even doubles as the local school hall for assemblies, gymnastics and other events. 

Open days, particularly for newer residents, have been a great success for attracting new hirers. 

All welcome at Beachlands 

Over in Beachlands, Jenny Carter and her team from the Log Cabin Trust have taken over Beachlands Memorial Hall using what she calls the “Michael Hill approach”.

Rural halls a hit in Franklin2
Beachlands Memorial Hall ready for a function.

“Have you ever noticed a Michael Hill shop? There are no doors. He believes doors are barriers and we’re using that same approach – we’re open to everyone.”

Facing a rapidly changing community with the population expected to hit 20,000 in 2019, Jenny says one of its first tasks is taking the community’s pulse. 

“Beachlands doesn’t have a community centre and this is a good opportunity to think about creating a sense of belonging where the community has a say in what happens,” she says. 

“So far, we’re a book swap, an art gallery, a community exchange, a venue for hire and a food bank. We’re also home to a Justice of the Peace and a budget adviser.” 

Booking details for the Maraetai, Beachlands and Orere facilities, and other council community venues are available on our website.

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