Penny Cairns is making connections

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By ROBYN BRISTOW

A community garden is one of the first projects new Amberley Community Connector Penny Cairns wants to get off the ground.

Penny, who has been in the job about two months and took over the position from Lee Lawrence, says the community garden concept had been mooted some time ago, but had not been progressed.

She is planning a meeting on July 13 at the Hurunui District Library in Amberley at 6.30pm to get it up and running.

“We need to look for a place to establish it, but until we find a place we need to establish how it is going to be run,” says Penny.

She is also keen to get more people involved and to take a trip to the Kaiapoi Community Garden to show what can be done.

Penny, who has a science background, comes to the job having spent 13 years working in the dairy industry and and five years in Japan doing research and development in products and health research. More recently she has worked in Amberley in a similar role to the connectors job.

She grew up in Christchurch and now enjoys being close to family in Amberley. She is keen to help people, particularly new arrivals, to connect with services, meet people, and find out about joining groups and organisations that might help them become part of their new community.

Penny is keen to help facilitate getting a group of people interested in learning Te Reo and distributing welcome bags, decorated by Amberley School students, to various organisations and centres for people to pick up on arrival in the town. She is also working closely with groups for toddlers and is looking at a community vehicle to provide transport outside of the health field, for people who are unable to drive themselves.

“First of all I have to establish if it is justified. But it can become very isolating, particularly for the elderly, if they can not get out and about easily.”

Penny says as the job is only 15 hours a week it means she only has time to facilitate the set up of community projects and activities, before handing over the reins once it is up and running.

Penny can be contacted on 021 055 5002 or email amberleycommunityconnector@gmail.com.