The village that’s raising the children

A community collective in the Hutt Valley is one of many local initiatives which were active during the COVID-19 lockdown period.

Common Ground’s aim is to ‘be the village raising the children’ by building connections across generations.  At its heart are the principles of manaakitanga, integrity, reciprocity, learning by doing, strength-based practice and what the team call ‘collaborACTION’.

So when local police were recently called out to check on a frightened and isolated resident during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown, it wasn’t surprising that it was participants from Common Ground who were called on to assist.

Collaboration and connection

Like many in lockdown living alone, the resident’s anxiety was triggered by a simple incident. Having no phone to contact friends or whanau was a problem. When Common Ground were alerted by police, they quickly activated personal support through a series of bike rides and phone calls between trusted community people and services.

Where once it would have been attendance at the scene and a walk to calm things down, the limitation of ‘bubbles’ called for different approaches.

Collaboration between Common Ground, Police, property managers, Work and Income, Spark and local health professionals allowed a response that supported positive intervention.

A reassessment of the situation means a landline is being connected, providing a vital link to support networks in the future.

Tātou Tātou Taita rockThe importance of partnership

All involved recognise the importance of community partnerships during the COVID-19 crisis.

Common Ground and Wesley Community Action are working together to identify other local families struggling in isolation, who may need access to phones and other basics that keep them safe and well.

Common Ground has recently received funding from SKIP, with a focus on supporting whanau with young children to grow relationships through play. They look forward to building on new and existing community partnerships for fun, innovative approaches centred on shared learning.