Former Victory Community Centre manager Gareth Cashin talks about his new role in Stoke at Burger Culture on Trafalgar St for this week's Beers, Burgers & Banter. Photo: Kate Russell.

Beers, Burgers & Banter

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Every few weeks the Nelson Weekly sits down with someone in the community doing something interesting at either Burger Culture or the Vic Brewbar.

This time reporter Kate Russell spoke with Gareth Cashin, who has just said farewell to the Victory Community Centre (VCC) after 11 years as their programme and facilities manager.

Gareth tells us about his exciting new role as manager of the new Greenmeadows Centre in Stoke, which is set to open at the end of June, over burger and shake at Burger Culture.

How did it feel leaving VCC after 11 years?

I had been at the centre since it first opened in January 2007. My children went through the school, so Victory kind of feels like home. There are so many wonderful connections in that community. It feels strange not heading there in the mornings – soon I’ll be cycling along the Railway Reserve to work.

What achievements at VCC are you most proud of?

There are heaps. Things like developing the Nelson Intermediate pool into the community facility. Lark in the Park also stands out for me – it feels like something that the community really owns and looks forward to. The Matariki celebrations are also a real highlight. A big part of it is actually the links I have made with the local community members, the teachers at the school and the colleagues I’ve had over the years. They’ve been a great bunch of people who made the place feel special to me.

How did the job come up at the Greenmeadows Centre?

I was aware the council was building a new community centre and I thought it would be  pretty amazing to work there. The company that was successful in getting the contract to run the centre, CLM, advertised for a manager in February and I just thought so much of what I have done would wrap into that job. I started the job last week and I went through the building the other day. I think it’s going to be an amazing venue to work out of and I’m really excited with the opportunity.

What would you like to achieve in your new role?

It’s going to be very different from VCC. We are really keen for the Stoke community to feel that this is their centre. We’ll be working in partnership with the anchor tenants, but there are also amazing programming opportunities that will exist in this centre, and I’m really looking forward to consulting with the community about developing programmes around what they are looking to access. I’m also really looking forward to working in partnership with all of the anchor tenants, such as the Stoke Rugby Club and Stoke Seniors, and seeing how we can work together to increase their members and make the centre a really vibrant place. I’d love to be able to create a centre with lots of community artwork on the walls and things like that.

What do you love about your work?

I just love working with communities, and it’s a real privilege to work in dynamic communities and feel like you’re contributing to the improvement or creation of them. That’s what gets me up in the morning. I really enjoy that kind of work, it’s just great.