Lisa Hampe says the centre is a dormant gem.
Auckland Council has created a new “activation coordinator” position to revitalise use of the Wellsford District Community Centre.
The new coordinator Lisa Hampe describes the centre as a “dormant gem”.
She says previously, the centre hosted major productions such as those of the Royal New Zealand Ballet, but utilisation of the building has waned in recent years.
She says one problem has been relying on volunteers from the Citizens Advice Bureau to take bookings – giving users multiple points of contact and variable approaches to the taking of bonds, pricing and invoicing, which made the booking process tedious.
From now on, Lisa will be the single point of contact for the venue and she has already streamlined and digitised the booking procedure.
Lisa says the centre was made for grand things – with a large foyer and commercial kitchen with substantial cool storage. The main auditorium has a capacity of 270 people and a separate lounge can hold 80. It is a relatively modern building in a good state of repair with no mould issues.
One of Lisa’s aims is to get acts appearing in major Auckland festivals up to Wellsford – thereby spreading them more evenly throughout the Auckland region.
She adds the building’s size should not put people off.
“People think that because it’s a grand building it will be expensive, but actually it is not,” she says.
One of the things she plans to do to encourage greater use is instituting a six-month free trial period for gatherings that don’t charge, such as seed/produce swapping groups or patchwork quilting groups.
She says the free offer will run until November 1 and apply to any group from Wellsford or the surrounding area that is having a positive impact on the Wellsford community. Some terms and conditions apply.
She will also support groups that do charge admission with free additional set-up times, free practice session times, and marketing and social media engagement to get more people coming through the doors.
“I want to see the community centre become a hustling, bustling place – a community space that provides something for everyone,” she says.
Prior to taking up her new role, Lisa was public programmes advisor for Auckland Zoo – responsible for school holiday programmes and large-scale exhibitions.
Those wishing to book the centre should email Lisa, firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 022 689-8447