Reporter Samantha McPherson talks to Shirley Community Trust coordinator Berwyn Mason, a motorbike enthusiast who has seen the Shirley-Papanui community continually grow and says this year there's a lot more hope being felt.
Tell me about your role?
I'm the Shirley Community Trust coordinator. I'm responsible for overseeing staff, organising different events, putting in funding applications and making sure I have a handle on what's happening in the community.
What does the trust do?
It's a community development organisation that helps people in the community by providing people with skills and different things they need. We have skill programmes that include numeracy and literacy, so we can help people in our community get a job.
We run after school programmes, holiday programmes, outdoor activities that promote exercise for children, a community cafe on a Friday morning and every two weeks a Friday night meal. For our over 50s, we have a foot clinic, regular bus trips and knitting workshops.
When did you join the trust?
I joined in July 2012. It was a part-time position and I work 15 hours a week - sometimes more it just depends what is going on. You just roll your sleeves up and get involved in whatever anyone needs help with.
What were you previously doing?
I'm a registered nurse by trade but I used to do administration work and my husband and I used to own a property management business. This job was an extension of what I was already involved in. I was a volunteer on the community cafe management team at the time and I saw it as a great opportunity so I applied for it.
Have you always lived in Christchurch?
No. I was born in Geraldine then we moved to Rangiora and Sefton before we moved into the Shirley community about eight years ago.
What do you enjoy about your job?
Talking to people and enjoying their company. It's great seeing people grow and develop. Since I've been with the trust I can see more hope in the community and a change in people. They are putting their hands up and offering to help run programmes and different events, which is good because they are taking charge of their community.
There are so many great stories you hear of people overcoming things and getting jobs. It's very inspiring and makes your hard work worthwhile. I've always enjoyed people and being able to encourage and give them a chance to be what they can be is great.
When did the trust start?
The trust started in 1999 and it's slowly built up. We are based at the MacFarlane Park neighbourhood centre.
What is the hardest thing about your job?
The lack of larger facilities in our little area. With smaller facilities it's quite tight to run bigger programmes and a number of the larger facilities that were standing before the earthquakes aren't there anymore. It's hard trying to juggle things without cutting those services off to the community.
When your not working, what do you enjoy doing?
My husband, Brent and I enjoy riding our motorbikes. I love going up the West Coast. I love the scenery and it has a nice feel about it. Sometimes we will pop out to Akaroa for afternoon tea. We also like spending time with our four granddaughters and travelling overseas whenever we can. We are going to travel Route 66, United States, in September which we are really looking forward to. I enjoy going to the movies.
What is your favourite movie?
City of Angels, I'm not sure why but that's definitely my favourite. I like Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan. It makes you think about things.