Family Wellbeing to the Fore Project – the story so far…

Wellbeing New Brighton is helping families in the seaside community become better connected and supported. 

The Borrow-A-Bucket Beach Toy Treasure Chest is the first community initiative of Family Wellbeing to the Fore, a 'parent-centred design' project based in the Christchurch coastal suburb of New Brighton.

The initiative is part of the Wellbeing New Brighton Project, a collaboration between the Christchurch Methodist Mission and the New Brighton Union Parish that is funded by the Todd Foundation. Family Wellbeing to the Fore began in February 2016 and is one of several whānau-focused user-centred design projects running in and around Christchurch over the past 1-2 years.

A vital part of Family Wellbeing to the Fore was establishing the leadership group. This group is a collaboration between local parents and those working in local family support organisations. They have attended meetings, given input and assisted in the overall running of the project. The leadership group have really taken ownership of the project and are better known now as the Wellbeing New Brighton group.

The guiding vision for Family Wellbeing to the Fore is "Brighton is a great place to raise a family; a place where all whānau are: Celebrated, Connected, Recognised and Supported." This vision has helped shape the parent-centred interview process. 25 interviews were conducted with local parents and presented the leadership group with several themes and insights to collate and investigate. These insights were presented back to the interviewed parents in a co-design group brain storming session held in June last year. The 166 ideas that were conceptualised by the parents that attended that day exhibited the diversity of views to be found in New Brighton and highlighted the love and passion that parents have for their community.

In addition to a presentation to the local community board and a period of community consultation from the findings of the project, the Wellbeing New Brighton group has been meeting regularly to discuss, plan and develop ways of growing family and community wellbeing in Greater New Brighton.

 Borrow-A-Bucket stemmed from an idea of one of the parents in the Wellbeing New Brighton group. Borrow-A-Bucket is a treasure chest full of beach toys at New Brighton beach over the summer months for families to borrow for free when they visit. Borrow-A-Bucket has proven to be a real hit with families this summer. As it has become better known, members of the community are starting to donate their unused beach toys so the community can make use of them.

Another parent in the group has started New Brighton Rocks, a family activity involving the decorating, hiding and finding of rocks in local parks. It already has over 400 Facebook group members and is proving very popular for families with young children in Brighton. An event to promote New Brighton Rocks was held by Wellbeing New Brighton on the 18th March in the Rawhiti Domain.

As with many community projects, the future of the Wellbeing New Brighton group is uncertain. However, as long as the parents involved enjoy using their strengths, skills, experience and energy for the benefit of their community, it's a safe bet they will continue to do so.