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Council staff member a valued addition to the Splash Planet team

Hamish and Peran at Splash Planet

Hamish Gilbert and Splash Planet manager Peran Hutchings.

October is World Down Syndrome Awareness Month, a chance to recognise the benefits of inclusion and having a diverse workforce.

Diversity, equity and inclusion are important to Hastings District Council, which as an employer knows that it’s important to have a workforce that reflects the diversity of our community.

One staff member, who works at Splash Planet, highlights the value of having a workplace that’s open to embracing different people that strengthen our understanding of others around us.

Hamish Gilbert came to Splash Planet through Council’s Mahi for Youth programme, after he visited the Pop-up shop in the city centre in 2020.

The Mahi for Youth team asked him what he wanted to do and saw an opportunity for him at Splash Planet where he first became a Park Host in December 2020.

Hamish quickly became a valued member of the team for his contribution, and when the season ended, the team was able to find a part-time role for him through the winter months as well.

He says he’s really liking the job that gives him independence and offers lots of variety.

“I help with cleaning up, trimming trees and other jobs during the winter, and in summer I help with the public, with the mini-golf and barbecues, picking up rubbish and interacting with the other staff.

“My favourite part of the job is the variety, and having this job means I get to go to work and enjoy myself, I’m not a home, and I can take transport on my own to get to work independently.”

Splash Planet manager Peran Hutchings says the benefits go both ways.

“I’ve seen the benefits of having Hamish here for staff - they enjoy his energy and enthusiasm.

“Knowing we can help another member of our community is really rewarding – having this kind of inclusion is very important to Council.”

12 October 2022

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