Having your say about Whaingaroa’s future just got very comfortable.
Raglan Naturally coordinator Gabrielle Parsons is hitting the streets of Raglan with her couch in tow to find out the community’s aspirations and she’s happy to talk the hard stuff too.
Gabrielle has a genuine interest in listening to others views and ideas and feels we have much to learn from each other.
“As well as inviting people along to our meetings we thought it would be a nice idea to get out and about in the community and introduce them to Raglan Naturally.”
Started by the community in 2001 as a shared vision and guide for the future of Whaingaroa, Raglan Naturally is currently reviewing the original community plan, in order to update it with what locals want for their town and surrounding areas today and into the future.
“It’s nice to have an informal space to talk about what people want, how they might want to be involved and how they can stay informed,” she says.
And, just like the squeaky wheel, Gabrielle believes Raglan Naturally can provide a cohesive voice for the community at the council table and other organisations involved in Whaingaroa’s future development that they will find hard to ignore.
“If we speak as a community we have a much stronger voice.”
Several years ago, Gabrielle worked with Devonport Transition Towns, which works on community resilience and sustainability projects and she hopes that this sort of approach can help with Raglan Naturally.
“We will spend time building the Raglan Naturally foundations by looking closely at key threads such as the Treaty of Waitangi, whole and inclusive community engagement and a stronger future focus, including climate change,” she says.
“Part of what we hope to do is coordinate the aspirations of the community and through Raglan Naturally empower the community to take action on the issues that matter to them without having to wait for council to take action.”
This may mean, under the Raglan Naturally banner, the community can apply for funding for the projects that matter to them, Gabrielle says.
She is looking to invite other interested community groups to share the couch with her in an effort to represent a wider voice as well as finding out what matters to them.
“We are just as interested in the views of our local groups as we are in the views of individuals.”
Get comfy on the couch with Raglan Naturally at the upcoming Raglan Creative Markets on Sunday, November 12.
For more information about Raglan Naturally visit their Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.