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Wonderful women support each other

Over the last three years the Heretaunga Women’s Centre has come of age, with more than 150 women now gathering for classes, catch-ups, support, health enhancement and friendship every week.

Hastings District Council is again supporting the Heretaunga Women’s Centre to run its programmes, granting $19,000 from this financial year’s Contestable Grants Fund. The fund is distributed annually to groups developing or delivering a community service or project which fits with Council’s aim of “building a safe, liveable, sustainable community”. Council is profiling successful applicants from the most recent grants round.

The reasons women embrace the courses and services at the centre are nearly as many and varied as the number and variety of offerings available.

In a survey, the top five came out as: practice a new skill, learn a new skill, be part of a group, meet new people, and personal growth. The courses and services range from yoga, pilates, painting, craft and budget advice to sewing, Egyptian reiki, vocal toning classes and a pre-school dance group.

All of the centre’s courses are related to one of four pillars of wellness; physical wellbeing, mental and emotional wellbeing, spiritual wellbeing and family/whanau.

Centre manager Margot Wilson said the facility had grown into the primary meeting place for women; across all ages, ethnicities and circumstances.

“It’s most important function is to provide a space where women can develop, set goals, realise dreams and reach their potential. The centre is a place where women can come and receive support, but equally they can come and give – so it provides a circle of giving and receiving – which can be incredibly empowering.

“We are really aware that many women do not have any support out in the community and loneliness plays a big part in women feeling socially isolated. To come and be part of groups, have a massage or an alternative therapy session where someone is focusing positive energy and attention just on you, or to share companionship and a cuppa are lifelines for some women.

“To watch these women blossom and grow, through the nurturing of other women who use the Centre is one of the privileges of my role.”

Heretaunga Women’s Centre is homed in the historic Hastings Women’s Municipal Rest Rooms building in Civic Square. The Californian bungalow was New Zealand’s first purpose-built women’s rest rooms, built in 1920. It has been home to the Heretaunga Women’s Group since 2003.

For more information on the Heretaunga Women’s Centre see: heretaungawomenscentre.nz

For more information on Hastings District Council Annual Contestable Grants see: www.hastingsdc.govt.nz/contestable-grants-fund

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