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Funding for community resilience hubs

Te Pohue Community Hall med

Communities will be able to either use existing halls or get a container depending on what works best

A back-up power generator, satellite mobile connector, bulk catering kit, emergency toilets and showers, AM/FM radio and hygiene kits are just a few of the items available to Hastings’ far-flung rural communities at risk of being isolated in future severe weather events.

A number of rural communities were cut off by Cyclone Gabrielle in February, and new central Government funding of $1.27 million has been allocated to help them better cope next time they are isolated from urban Hastings.

The funding from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ North Island Weather Events fund will be used by Hastings District Council to establish or develop an initial 10 community resilience hubs across the district.

Council is pursuing further funding from various sources to enable more rural communities to receive resilience hubs.

The funds can be used to purchase a container or to make improvements to an existing community building, as well as critical supplies that will help communities cope if and when they are cut off.

The aim of the hubs is to provide safe, well-resourced community facilities, where people can get supplies and information.

With the funding confirmed, Council is now having conversations with impacted communities to finalise the locations of the hubs and to establish what the communities’ priorities are in terms of what they will offer.

Deputy Mayor Tania Kerr said the cyclone showed the importance of being prepared, especially for rural communities which were more at risk of being isolated during severe weather events.

“This is the start and we hope to be able to support an increased number of sustainable community-led hubs depending on need, priority, and any future funding becoming available.

“Integral to the success of these hubs will be community leadership and participation – this will be community-led future resilience planning for ongoing community prosperity and success.

“Essentially they will be safe places people can go to that will have power and connectivity with basic supplies as decided by that particular community.”

The hubs are being established in conjunction with ongoing community recovery conversations that are occurring across the Hastings district.

A number of key community themes have been identified as a result of this engagement, one of which is the need for sustainable hubs that have clearly identified roles and responsibilities for resilience and connection.

Communities would be responsible for maintaining the hubs and people structures, with support from other agencies. Training opportunities would be provided to further enable residents to manage a response to any future emergency events.

26 September 2023

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