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Rotary Kick-Start Winners to Bring New Life to Vogelmorn

Rotary Kick-Start Winners to Bring New Life to Vogelmorn Bowling Club

The Vogelmorn Community Group is the inaugural winner of the Rotary Club of Wellington Social Enterprise Kick-start, run in conjunction with the Ākina Foundation.

Ākina Foundation Chief Executive Alex Hannant said the group’s idea to re-envisage suburban connectivity and enterprise through developing the closed Vogelmorn Bowling Club into a community asset, the Vogelmorn Community Club, was impressive.

“I can see this project reinvigorating the heart of Vogelmorn. Bowling clubs were traditionally real community focus points so re-creating that buzz and connection through social enterprise builds on our history.”

On behalf of the Vogelmorn Community Group, Jo Randerson said the team was delighted to receive the award of $7,000.

“This is just the kickstart we need to grow our sustainable community hub in Vogelmorn at our beautiful old Bowling Club.”

Ms Randerson said the funds would help their commercial kitchen venture, which enables locals to make and sell their own food products at markets and other outlets.

“There's a lot of excitement in our neighbourhood about how our new venue will enable community enterprise and connectivity for all ages. It's very exciting to see Rotary supporting social enterprise, as this is a smart way to invest in communities growing with a very clear return on the investment in human terms.”

Mr Hannant said that competition between the six shortlisted finalists had been stiff. The runner-up was Sew Good, a sewing co-operative within the Community Unity Project Aotearoa. Sew Good received $3,000 with funds to be used to help empower people from vulnerable communities through the production of sewn garments and goods for gifting and sale.

“The Rotary Club of Wellington is the oldest Rotary Club in New Zealand – they have been a supporter of some of New Zealand’s most valued social causes – it’s fantastic to see them embracing this new generation of social enterprise,” said Mr Hannant.

Rotary’s Vocational Committee Chair Andrew Miller said their members would also be available to support the successful ventures.

“As well as providing a cash injection at a time when it makes a real difference, Rotary members offer ongoing support. Our members’ diverse backgrounds can assist with giving access to a wide range of networks, advice on accessing markets along with general business and technical support plus some possible mentoring,” said Mr Miller.

The Rotary Club of Wellington has been an innovator since the 1920s, instrumental in establishing the Wellington Karitane Hospital, the Crippled Children's Society (now Disability Action), Meals on Wheels, Cancer Society of NZ amongst others", said Mr Miller. “More recently we have been involved in the establishment of the Child Health Research Foundation, the Wellington Botanic Gardens Education Centre, Wellington Wheels Expo, Skylight Trust, Friends of Refugees as Survivors and the EUREKA! Trust.”

Mr Hannant said the Ākina team was excited about this new opportunity to support social entrepreneurs thanks to the generosity and enthusiasm of the Rotary Club of Wellington.

“We are hopeful this successful partnership will challenge others to get in behind social enterprise as a innovative way to tackle social and environmental challenges,” said Mr Hannant.

“We want to act as inspiration for other Rotary clubs around the country,” added Mr Miller.

Rotary members watched three-minute videos submitted by the finalists on Monday night (31 August) then cast votes to determine the winner and runner-up.


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