Meri Kirihimete, ngā mihi o te tau hou

Kia ora Woolston Development Project whānau and friends,

Next Wednesday 15 December I will have been in the role of manager at WDP for nine months, and what a rollercoaster ride it has been! Thank you to everyone who has made me feel so welcome. It has been great getting to know so many new people – and catching up with some old faces too.

2021 has been a challenging year for most of us with COVID-19 rearing its head more readily. I appreciate the support everyone has given me while I grappled with how to steer WDP through the inevitable choppy waters of COVID-19 restrictions. Thank you so much to the board for trusting me, and thank you to everyone else for dealing with the changes which have affected some much more than others. Thank you.

Since I began in this role, we have made some significant changes. Some, like the new lighting in the hall, kitchen and office, or the new-to-us front door are quite obvious to the casual observer who knew what it was like before. Others, like going digital in our accounting and payroll systems, won’t have been so obvious. The removal of the railway carriage (which has a new home where it will be well loved) and old play equipment has made a big difference to the outside space. A new TV, new blinds at one end of the hall, and new office furniture have made a difference to the overall feel of the place.

Tomorrow morning the concrete foundations for the old play equipment, including the railway carriage, are being removed by a contractor. Early next week we will hopefully get some new bark delivered. The new play equipment will also be delivered next week in flat pack form. Our wonderful volunteer team of retired engineers will install the new play equipment before the holiday programme begins on 17 January!

Our flooring contractor discovered that the leaking sink discharge pipe in what we used to call the girls’ toilet had caused the underlay in the hallway between the toilets to become saturated, (fanning out from the general direction of the leak so we know what caused it!). The leak has been fixed, and the new vinyl has been laid in that toilet. Over the summer we will allow the floor to dry out in the hallway before the contractor will come back to finish the work. The new vinyl looks great. One of our volunteers will be back next week to reconnect the plumbing so that we have two working toilets again.

Holiday Programme
Our January 2022 holiday programme looks great, with a range of trips each week as well as base days.

If your 12 or 13 year old is going to attend, please make sure that we have a copy of their vaccine pass for Wednesday 19 January (swimming at Norman Kirk Memorial Pool, Lyttelton), Friday 21 January (for the Black Cat Cruises ferry to Quail Island) and Wednesday 26 January (Waltham Pool). If your 12 or 13 year old child isn’t vaccinated, they will not be able to come on those days as we will not be providing alternative activities for the one or two children who might be in this position. We don’t have the staff available – and we would require two staff members on even if there were only one or two children for our and their safety.

On the subject of the holiday programme, please let me know as soon as possible if your child(ren) are coming. It’s critical for our staffing levels and planning.

Summer closedown
We will be closing at 5.3-0pm on Thursday 16 December and reopening at 8.30am on on Friday 17 January for the holiday programme.

Other activities will resume the week beginning 31 January, with the Women’s Group meeting at Red Eight @ Portstone for morning tea on Wednesday 2 February, and the after school programme resuming at 3pm that same day.

Thank you again for welcoming me on board at manager at WDP. It has been a very satisfying year in terms of the upgrades to the property and systems I have been able to complete. Getting to know the children has been fun and hard work! In my previous job, the children I engaged with were in the under-5 age group at the music & movement groups my previous organisation hosted. They always had a parent or caregiver with them. Primary school children are an entirely different deal – quirky and exciting and hard work all in the same moment! It’s been a learning curve and I have to say I’m grateful for the role models I had in my own parents!

Have a lovely holiday period and see you next year.

Eddie Hayes

Woolston Development Project