Wellbeing New Brighton: Harnessing local energy to create community wellbeing

The first painted rocks started appearing in child-friendly locations around New Brighton in November 2016. Soon, hundreds of rocks had been painted, hidden, found and – in many cases – re-hidden by local families as part of New Brighton Rocks, a community-led initiative facilitated by Wellbeing New Brighton.

A joint project between the Christchurch Methodist Mission and the New Brighton Union Parish, Wellbeing New Brighton was established in 2015 to help meet the needs of the many young families who moved to New Brighton following the Christchurch earthquakes. Its goal is to build connections among local families and develop community-led initiatives to make New Brighton a safe and nurturing environment for children.

For community development worker, Tim Corry, that means taking a back seat and letting local residents come up with their own ideas about the activities they want.

“Community-led development is very much a grass roots thing,” he says. “It’s about letting the community use their energy, their creativity and their successes for the benefit of the community.”

New Brighton Rocks is one of two initiatives developed since Wellbeing New Brighton first started. The other is Borrow-A-Bucket – a treasure chest full of beach toys on New Brighton Beach for families to use for free during the summer.

Both projects followed extensive community consultation, including interviews with 25 local families and a “co-design brainstorming session” with interested parents. Tim says they’ve provided parents with an unexpected opportunity to get involved in their community.

“It’s allowed them to do things that they didn’t think they could, and affirm that they can make a contribution and grow local family wellbeing.”

Todd Foundation is supporting Christchurch Methodist Mission with 2 years of funding from our General Fund.