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Dallington Community Hub to close

November 4 2011

Dallington Community Hub to close

The Dallington Community Hub, formed after the February 22 earthquake, is closing tomorrow, Saturday November 5.

The Hub, initiated by Gayhurst Road resident Chrystal Perelini and Burwood/Pegasus City Councillor Glenn Livingstone, was set up to continue the help the Perelini family gave the community in the immediate aftermath of the February earthquake.

"Water at the well became a metaphor for a gathering point, a place of comfort, of the sharing of resources, of food, water, blankets, warm clothing, hats, barbecues and entertainment for the community", Cr. Livingstone says.

The Perelini family began by offering passersby water from their well. This morphed into daily barbecues, then food stalls and mini-markets that continued for several weeks. "Eventually Chrystal and I decided that we had to put a new model in place", says Cr. Livingstone. "We knew that we couldn't sustain what we were doing at the Perelini's place indefinitely. And Chrystal laid it squarely at my feet when she said "You'll have to do something you know". "So we approached Geoff White, manager at Trade Aid, to see whether we could set up a base there. They let us use a portacom, assisted us with the internet, shared their car-park and at all times made us feel welcome"

But in order to get the hub underway, volunteers were needed - and they came forward. On Saturday, those volunteers and those who helped resource the hub will be thanked. Cr. Livingstone says that the hub's aim was "to assist residents get through the winter, and we've achieved that". "The voluntary effort was a real case of where East meets West, as volunteers came from the other side of town to run the hub with those from the local community. With their enthusiasm, humour and hope, they have kept the hub going from March to November."

Cr. Livingstone says that "It will be important that we end well and we will do that on Saturday with a community BBQ, entertainment, speeches and some home baking. We have taken some time to arrive at the decision to finish and we have involved local volunteers in this. An emergency response begins with a hierarchical structure but effective recovery is community, grass-roots driven and the Dallington Community Hub will be remembered for being just that."

ENDS

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