Local man Mark French is the new friendly face behind the desk at the Tahunanui Community Centre. Photo: Charles Anderson.

Tahuna Centre ‘no longer insolvent’

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After two months of uncertainty, the Tahunanui Community Centre is almost in the clear.

The centre was closed in late December when its dire financial position was revealed, and it was initially thought that it would have to be liquidated to pay back the tens of thousands of dollars it owed.

But new board chair Murray Leaning is happy to report that things are on the up.

“We are no longer insolvent. We’ve cleared all debt apart from some payments owed to staff, and we’ll be working through that in the next little while.

“It’s just a question now of figuring out that last bit, but it’s a much more insignificant debt – hugely different.”

There were fears that its building would have to be sold but that is now off the table.

The centre has also recently received grants from The Lion Foundation and the Department of Internal Affairs.

Committee member of the centre, Mark French, has also offered to man the front desk 20 hours a week to help get services back up and running.

“We’re very lucky to have Mark there. Everybody knows Frenchy, he’s just the right guy,” Murray says.

All volunteer classes are now back up and running, as well as the health nurse and Kai Rescue – which Murray says is in hot demand.

Nelson City Council also has their facilities contractor operating the building for three months, at their cost.

“Another important thing for us was to get the preschool reopened, and with the help from the Nelson Kindergarten Association they now have record attendance numbers.”

Murray says the centre will work on a slightly different model to what there was before, but they are still looking at what a sustainable community centre will look like.

“We will be getting advice and assistance with that from the Department of Internal Affairs, Funders, other community organisations, NCC and other stakeholders, plus, we will be consulting with the community about what they would like,” he says.

“Altogether, we’re happy to say things are looking good. We’ve made really good progress. We’ve had a lot of help from a lot of places – it’s been quite humbling.”