The value of networks
When you first meet Jenny Tanner, what strikes you immediately is the energy and enthusiasm she shows for community development work.
Jenny, who has recently taken on the part-time role of coordinator for Onehunga District Council of Social Services (ODCOSS), has worked in community development for the last 30 or so years. “It’s about empowering the community and making people resilient,” she says.
Jenny’s experience is perfect for the ODCOSS role. “I know the value of networks,” she says. The organisation’s main aim is to network with social services and other community groups in Onehunga. It is a place where they can learn about each other, and find out about the different services, activities and events available at monthly meetings. “They can share information, but also we try to run a good discussion point, or presentation.”
Jenny’s background in community work is extensive. She has worked in various roles for the now defunct Waitakere City Council and Auckland City Council, and, more recently, Auckland Council. She also ran the electorate office for Richard Northey, Labour MP for Onehunga, from 1993 to 1996 (the constituency was abolished and became part of the Maungakiekie ward when MMP was created in 1996). She says this work influenced the way she saw things. “Being in that office gave me a very broad look at the social needs of Onehunga.”
As well as her part-time role at ODCOSS, Jenny continues to carry out a small amount of work for Community Waitakere. She takes a great interest in voluntary environmental work, especially in the Waitakere Ranges, and is involved in making life more accessible for people with disabilities. She also enjoys cycling, and playing the acoustic guitar.
Jenny says while it is only early days in the role, she is first focusing on reviewing the strategic goals of ODCOSS. The overall vision is to do something for local people. “You’re aiming for thriving, resilient communities.”
The next ODCOSS meeting is on Wednesday March 11th, 12.15pm to 1.15pm at the Onehunga Community House, Selwyn Street, Onehunga. All welcome.
Topic – Working with Auckland Council and the Maungakiekie-Tãmaki Local Board
Guest presenters: Chris Makoare, chair of MTLB and Debbie Burrows, deputy chair.
For further information: contact firstname.lastname@example.org