A brief History...
Shirley Community Trust (SCT) was established in 1999 as the community arm of St Stephen’s Anglican Church and grew out of the ‘Friday Night Meal’ that was being run by the church for community. The Trust has a grass-roots community development approach to all its initiatives and events and is proud to work alongside local people to enable a real community spirit to prevail in the Shirley area.
SCT operates the majority of its projects and programmes from its small MacFarlane Park Neighbourhood Centre (MPNC) at 17 Acheson Ave, Shirley, Christchurch, located next to the KidsFirst Kindergarten and bordering the expansive MacFarlane Park.
SCT now runs over 25 projects, most being weekly, some fortnightly, monthly or quarterly, and a few annually. We utilise the park as much as possible for outdoor events, festivals and in summer weekly social touch rugby competition.
Other community facilities are used for special events, eg. Emmett St Christian Centre, Shirley Intermediate School, Eastside C3 Church, and Te Puna Oraka.
The diversity of projects reflect the diversity of the Shirley community. Projects target different age groups, culture, interests and needs.
The projects offer community engagement, life and vocational skills training programmes that are coordinated by SCT staff and often facilitated by local volunteers with a particular interest and knowledge they offer to these groups. Some projects have run for many years, like the ‘MacFarlanes on the Park’ café, while others are ‘organic’ forming for a season, then closing down, and new projects evolving.
SCT has been careful to allow the community to take ownership of community-requested projects, so projects only start/finish based on community interest and demand for the projects.
One-off events run throughout the year. These include: Holiday Programmes, a Light Party, a community festival called SHINE and ‘Breakmission’. These free events always attract new people who start connecting with their neighbours in the safe and non-threatening environment provided.