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New Hub Coming For The Merivale community

From left to right Merivale Community Centre manager Dave Merton, office manager Gemma Cramp and volunteer Lana Taupo are excited about what the new build will bring to the community.

The Merivale Community Centre is much more than just a building – it provides the community with a safe space, a place they feel at home, somewhere they know they are always welcome.

With Tauranga City Council set to begin construction for a brand-new fit-for-purpose community centre in September, the community is buzzing.

Merivale Community Centre manager Dave Merton believes the much-needed new centre will create a positive feeling within the community.

"The purpose of the Merivale Community Centre is to achieve a thriving, vibrant community realising its potential where people are safe, connected, and making healthy choices for themselves, their whānau and their community,” explains Dave.

“We have a particular focus on tamariki and rangatahi. We strive to build relationships of trust and aim to support their learning and growth. A new centre will be something the community can own and be proud of and it will support our people to enhance their own wellbeing and create a more connected and inclusive community."

The Merivale Community Centre was founded in 1993 as a grassroots, community-led organisation located in the heart of Merivale. The centre provides a range of services, including the free after-school programme which led to the formation of the popular Merivale basketball team. The centre also runs coffee groups and exercise classes, provides food bags for those in need, and is home to other social services including counselling, GP clinics, access to social workers and budgeting advice.

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The development of additional programmes and extension of services provided by the Merivale Community Centre are currently limited by the size of the building occupied.

The new 630m2 building will be able to accommodate 175 people. It will include a reception area, kitchen, multi-functional community space, offices, private consultation rooms, a youth studio/music room, toilets and storage facilities. There will also be an outdoor area that includes an entry court, outdoor seating, outdoor recreation area and landscaped gardens.

Funding for the new facility is provided by Tauranga City Council as well as community grants from TECT, BayTrust and the Lottery Grants Board.

“After many years of being such a strong supporter for the new centre, I am so pleased to see all the efforts come to fruition,” says Anne Tolley, Tauranga City Council Commission Chair.

“I am personally very proud of all the work that has gone into reaching what is a pivotal moment for this community.”

TECT Chief Executive Wayne Werder says TECT is proud to support the development of the Merivale Community Centre.

“Our vision is for a thriving, caring and connected community and the new facility will certainly contribute to this goal as a heart and hub for Merivale residents,” says Wayne.

BayTrust Chief Executive Alastair Rhodes said BayTrust is pleased to support the new Merivale Community Centre.

“The centre has been a cornerstone of the community for over 15 years, and we look forward to the extra positive impact the new centre will have in the future."

Council’s Senior Project Manager Deon Connoway said a partnership approach has been key to this new community centre.

“Council has worked closely with mana whenua, interested community groups and individuals, the Merivale Community Centre team and our funders from TECT, BayTrust and the Lottery Grants Board. It is an exciting time for the communities of Merivale and we can’t wait for the new centre to be opened.”

https://letstalk.tauranga.govt.nz/merivale

Artist's impression of the new Merivale Community Centre.

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