December 2014: Upcycling furniture an environmentally sustainable method of taking a piece of unwanted furniture and giving it new life as something that is either useful or creative. Alycia applied to various organisations for financial support to get her business underway but was turned down each time, despite having a robust and detailed business plan. Although her plan was sound, she simply didn’t fit the criteria that the funding agencies required.
Alycia has wanted desperately to be independent and self-sufficient and to one day come off the Domestic Purposes benefit. She saw growing her own business as a way of achieving this. Her passion and belief in her dream would not be diminished and she continued to look for support. She finally found it through the development of her Whānau Ora plan with the support of the Te Arawa Whānau Ora Collective.
The collective represents eight Māori health and social service providers in the Te Arawa rohe and recently reached a key milestone last month by support over 1000 whānau members in their Whānau Ora journeys.
With the tautoko of WERA Aotearoa Charitable Trust, the newest member of the Te Arawa Whānau Ora Collective, Alycia with the support of her Paearahi (navigator)engaged in the development of her own Whānau Ora plan, in which she described her dreams and aspirations. Alycia detailed the challenges she needed to overcome to order to make her dreams a reality.
What emerged out of Alycia’s plan was a set of steps she needed to take, in order to achieve her Whānau Ora goals. These goals related to her business as well as the health and wellbeing of her whānau. Because she needed support to help grow her business WERA provided Alycia access to key resources while giving her access to their business mentor who provided her invaluable guidance and advice. Alycia next met with her bank manager and began understanding how to manage her business accounts more effectively.
To continue her education and further strengthen her skills Alycia enrolled in a business management course at her local polytech, which she is set to complete in December.Having a detailed plan which set out a series of action points meant that Alycia and her daughters could take measured steps to achieve their goals.
Alycia was able to utilise her Business Mentor’s network and now provides workshops to the local community teaching them how to upcycle their own furniture in a way that strengthens community connections and whakawhanaungatanga. From personal experience Alycia knows first hand of the financial stress and pressure that comes with the holiday period and with the kind support of WERA recently began offering workshops teaching people how to make beautiful handmade Christmas presents for their whānau.
By working from home, Alycia can work around the hours that her children are at school and daycare. Being present and available in her daughter’s lives means that their wellbeing is enhanced and protected. The support that Alycia has received has amazed her.
To be given such focused guidance from her Whānau Ora Paearahi as well as other sectors has meant that she has been able to strengthen and share her skills and passion with the wider community while at the same time creating a foundation on which to grow her business. By growing her business Alycia will be able to provide her four young daughters with the financial stability she so deeply wants to give them while nurturing them to become strong, creative and resilient. Most importantly Alycia is leading by example.
About Te Arawa Whānau Ora
The collective comprises eight Te Arawa based health and social service providers: Aroha Mai Cancer Support; Korowai Health Services; Maketu Health & Social Services, Te Roopu a Iwi o Te Arawa Charitable Trust; Te Papa Tākaro o Te Arawa; Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Pikiao, Te Waiariki Purea Trust and Wera Aotearoa Charitable Trust.
The providers work collectively at both a governance level, Whānau Ora service intergration, and in terms of service delivery (i.e. by providing Paearahi (navigator) support) to impact broad social change.