Connecting Communities Wairarapa is a long-standing not-for-profit organisation. It was first established in 1995 (as Masterton Safe and Healthy Community Council), following recognition that while some Masterton communities thrived, others were falling behind. The organisation’s main task was to co-ordinate a network of support services and initiatives to help strengthen individuals, and their neighbourhoods, to enable them to live well – and to do so independently.
Today we have extended our work across the province; our sole purpose remains to enhance the well-being of those Wairarapa individuals and communities who need assistance.
What we do
Made up of two inter-linked teams – our development team and our social services team – we work together to connect and channel support (provided by a wide range of services and community programmes), to where it is needed most in Wairarapa.
Both our teams (with support from volunteers), provide people and their communities with immediate and long-term assistance; assistance that will first enable them to stand on their feet and then empower them to keep moving forward. For example, someone who needs our support with managing money, through our Building Financial Capabilities programme, may also need help with complementary life skills such as how to shop wisely, cook a nutritious meal and manage a household budget. A community experiencing anti-social issues may find that implementing a neighbourhood support group will help them connect residents and work together as a community to solve problems within the neighbourhood.
Other assistance provided by Connecting Communities Wairarapa includes: youth support, providing events for young people, whanau and school holiday programmes, teaching life skills (cooking, growing a vege garden, running a home, parenting, form filling) as well as accessing health, well-being agencies and other professional and specialist services. Many of our workshops are hosted at Masterton’s Te Awhina Cameron Community House – a warm and welcoming hub open to anyone who might need company, a place to sit, a cup of tea or further assistance. We also provide companion support for appointments, visits and day-to-day tasks.
Connected Communities Wairarapa operates from a truly integrated platform, where no one part of our organisation works alone. Co-ordinated by our General Manager, this means our teams can gain a big picture understanding of the people and communities we help. This, in turn, allows us to better assess immediate and on-going needs.
This gives our teams the opportunity to get to know and understand the people we are working with so that we can ensure all assistance is well co-ordinated for that family. We have found that this approach enhances relationships and creates a sense of mutual respect and trust – this then encourages word to spread and more people in need to come to us.
Every year, hundreds of Wairarapa residents turn to Connecting Communities Wairarapa for help. Our workshops, budgeting, strengthening families and life skills programmes are well-accessed and the events we host create excitement and a sense of togetherness for many.
Here’s what some of our community members have said about our Building Financial Capabilities programme:
“I am happy to share my story with other budgeting clients. I believe that if it wasn’t for your service, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Having the one on one appointments each week was excellent for keeping me on track. I have recommended your service to lots of people. It’s brilliant.”
“Made me feel comfortable, relaxed, supported and not alone in this situation. That I have help now and that things are going to get sorted. Gave me a budget to work with and to visualise.”
“I have achieved 95% of my goals that I set with my financial mentor and feel so good about the direction I am heading in.”
Our mission is “To enhance the well-being of Wairarapa individuals, and their neighbourhoods, who need assistance. To equip them with the tools, the life skills, the confidence and the strength to live well on their own or as families – and, importantly, to thrive as communities”.