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IHC Community Hub in Hawera

The IHC Community Hub is a newly refurbished space in Hāwera for people with intellectual disability to get together, learn and socialise with friends and whānau.

“It’s a community space where people feel comfortable socialising,” said Janine Stewart, General Manager IHC Programmes.

Funding of $30,000 from the Toi Foundation has helped IHC to furnish the Hāwera Community Hub, making it comfortable, accessible and fit for purpose.

“It’s allowed us to open up the space and support people with intellectual disability, to meet their needs and help to empower them,” said Janine.
“We have sets of soft, accessible seats and tables with board games, so you can sit down easily to play a game.

“There’s a driving simulator because many of the people we’re supporting want to learn how to drive. The simulator helps them understand the basics and gives them confidence before they go out and do it in the real world.”

Other equipment includes new computers used for training, looking for work, writing CVs, upskilling and communicating with family and friends in New Zealand and overseas. 
There’s also a smart TV so groups can access online workshops from IHC Media. All these workshops are accessible and targeted towards people with intellectual disability.

The Community Hub is also used for special events to celebrate occasions like Matariki, Christmas and the Annual Ball.

“Around 20 people regularly access the Community Hub, but when we hold events, there’d be up to100 people, including family, friends and staff,” said Janine.

“Having these resources has really supported our staff. It’s made their job easier, and they now have resources that fit their needs.

“Also, having the community space to socialise in gives people the confidence to go out into the wider community, too.

Including people with intellectual disability will uplift the community as a whole, according to Janine.
"The more people you have engaged with your community, the better the community is.”

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