Monday, 22 July 2019
Jo Randerson, Artistic Director at Sustainable Business Network
Jo Randerson visited Rotary Club of Wellington to talk about the Vogelmorn Community Centre. This Community Centre won our first Akina Kick Start Social Enterprise Award. Jo's report on progress epitomised the value of social enterprise that is so important to our club. The Vogelmorn Community Trust took a very rundown local bowling club and has gradually turned it into a vibrant, active, income-generating, community-building environment. Income- generation results from hiring out the Centre facilities and the commercial kitchen, done on a sliding scale according to ability to pay. Community-building has come from the community doing the renovations itself and from the wide range of local people and groups using the facilities and attending its events. These uses range from a refugee using the kitchen to make food for his food truck, beer brewing and tasting, shadow puppet theatre, multi-cultural photo exhibitions and test projects for things like Citizenship programmes for young people.
Jo talked about the concept of the Vogelmorn Community Centre being a 'Third Space'. Rotary has some of the elements of the Third Space and we could make more of them.A Third Space is a place that is neither 'home' nor 'work', but meets the need of people to come together in a space. These Spaces help overcome the social isolation of modern homes, broadening the range of people we encounter. The term was coined by Ray Oldenburg in 1989. He described Third Places as being "anchors" of community life that facilitate and foster broader, more creative interaction - In other words, "your third place is where you relax in public, where you encounter familiar faces and make new acquaintances." The English pub comes to mind as a classic example. While Rotary isn't an exact example, but we do have several similar elements - neutral ground, accessible and accommodating, regulars attend, people coming from a wide range of backgrounds, witty conversation and frivolous banter are not only common but highly valued - William and Peter C take note! It is worth considering how our club could become a more effective 'Third Space'. .