Feeling more connected in East Auckland is getting a kick start with community engagement being prioritised by the Howick Local Board, to better serve their community’s needs.
One of those methods is through a Community Forum – an invite only event, which is aimed at engaging with communities that wouldn’t normally interact with the board.
The board has the largest population by local board area in Auckland with just over 141,000 people (Census 2018) living in the area and is predicted to rise to over 150,000 by 2025.
Board chair Damian Light says the board remains committed to lifting their engagement and visibility, creating more opportunities to meet and discuss the issues that matter to the community.
“During the Annual Budget consultation, the local board attended 19 events, engaging with our community on some very important issues. We received thousands of feedbacks which has helped guide the Board’s priorities for the year,” he says.
Light says that having these Community Forums in place helps the board address their commitment to fostering community involvement in projects and services that promote self-sufficiency within the area.
“We need to hear all the voices in our community so that people can participate in local decision making on matters that interest them."
“We must look to engage more with our people and take every opportunity to let you know what we are doing and how you can be part of it."
“However, eight percent of our residents cannot speak English, and to be truly inclusive, we must meet the challenge this presents and develop better ways to communicate so that people will be able to access, understand and respond”, Light adds.
In late June, the topic was ‘Communities in Need’ and featured eight local presenters.
The major themes that emerged were the concerns around the wellbeing of youth and families; a reality that East Auckland families were struggling financially; identifying opportunities to stay connected; actively building and promoting a database of providers so the community are aware of the services available; avoiding the risk of creating a dependency on foodbanks; and advocating funding for Citizens Advice Bureau.
Once the themes are clear, the board workshops and discuss ways in which to address these and partner with organisations or groups who can support the delivery of services, providing positive outcomes for the community.
Light adds that future Community Forums will focus on other issues and that the board will carry on inviting participants that the Board wouldn’t normally hear from.
Other ways to engage
Other opportunities to engage with the Howick Local Board include the more formal option of the public forum or deputation at the monthly business meeting, held on the third Thursday of each month starting at 12noon at the Pakuranga Library Complex in Aylesbury Road.
Anyone is welcome to attend and observe. If you want to speak, please contact us in advance to book in a slot as these slots are very popular (see Howick Local Board meeting dates).
You can also contact your local representative via email or phone and arrange a face-to-face meeting to discuss your ideas or concerns (see Contact Howick Local Board).
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