Lots of Little Fires

An update by Lead Social Innovator, Joe Wilson

Last month we released the beautiful story of Rainbow Hub Waikato and this has received such beautiful and heart warning responses from across our community.

The video has enabled the team at RBH Waikato to engage in a safe and welcoming way to their current and new community members at a time where the social climate around the rainbow community has been incredibly turbulent.  Feeling seen, valued and supported through Lots of Little Fires and the WWP has demonstrated what active allyship looks like and has opened the door for further support from across our wider society.

Last month also saw us film and interview the awesome people who shared their stories with us last year for our one-year reflections story.

This was such an affirming experience for both Murdoch and myself hearing the beautiful and meaningful words of gratitude and support the crew shared with us about our kaupapa. What really came through is the importance of having a platform to tell the stories of our grassroots community that show what is really happening for people and in a real way that shows the beauty in what people do to make a difference. It was also so cool for a few of our little fires people to meet each other in passing during the day of interviews and share their experiences and kaupapa.

We cannot wait to release this story next week and we feel so humbled to share the beautiful words of gratitude and support of the people who have told their stories so far. They all speak to the strength of our kaupapa and to the beneficial impact and outcomes that have come as a direct result of telling and sharing their stories through LOLF.

We are grateful beyond words to all those who have stepped up and bravely enabled us to do what we do by sharing their stories with vulnerability, trust and authenticity. Thank you.

This week we were set back on filming our next two stories as poor Murdoch finally fell victim to the dreaded covid.  However, this has not stopped us though and we have rescheduled both to still be captured this month.

The next two stories look at the incredible community driven hauora kaupapa of Te Toi Ora that delivers Marae based health and medical support in four rural Marae across the Waikato district. This kaupapa is thriving and through it a kaumatua group has developed which has been a lifeline to so many isolated kaumatua in rural communities who now benefit from kai cooking classes, mara kai, day trips out, talks on health and so much more. This story is so awesome and is led by incredible heart led visionaries, mana whenua, who really are at the heart of this transformational mahi.

Following this story we will be sharing the story of Tom Hunt, a leading youth worker at Western Community Centre. He will be sharing his mahi, heart and how he feels about the future of funding and support of grassroots youth work amidst the current political climate.

Through LOLF we are always sharing the positive kaupapa and people in our communities who are proactively being the change we want to see. Sadly however, right now there is more need than ever to elevate and share their wisdom and frontline perspective to best inform policy and funding so that they are supported properly and enabled to deliver the ongoing mahi that will always be needed in our inherently inequitable society. This is at the heart of our why and therefore the stories we follow hope to raise awareness as well as inspire change across our society through sharing perspectives.

Just a few of the outcomes and positive impacts LOLF has had so far:

● Use of the Twenty20 video to inspire a landlord to provide his 7-bed house for the 20/20 kaupapa to house seven young parents and their babies.

●Use of video to share with government officials from HUD, MSD and MOE to have an audience with Twenty20 and He Puaawai to enact changes to policy and funding around transitional housing.

● Young parents feel empowered, seen and valued by hundreds of emails and messages of support and gratitude for sharing their stories.

● Rangi Hetet’s story being aired on International Women's day

● Hiki’s AE group having numerous opportunities presented to them for their kaupapa and for him to use the video to set up his own organisation extending his kaupapa to support more rangatahi.

●Hiki’s story was shared with Raglan Area School to showcase what exceptional AE looks like to develop their own programme more effectively.

● Jamey Ferguson and Fairfield College Music Programme has grown and developed significantly over the year in response to the video and Jamey has been given further support to continue to develop the kaupapa which has led to greater student engagement and retention at school.

● A private rental was recently secured for Dawn, one of He Puaawai’s young mums. This came through a connection with a Ray White Property Manager who saw the LOLF story and was moved to make a difference. He found a property and advocated for her. Dawn will now have her own three bedroom house. Her first home. We are hoping this is a new road to pursue for future storytelling and to build more allies in the private rental market through our ethically minded Property Manager (name kept private for now).

Through engagement and direction from the WWP Kaitiatki Advisory group, we will be sharing stories later in the year focussed on biodiversity and climate action and looking at this in a strengths based approach that ties in with the social aspect also.

Over the next few months, LOLF will be looking to extend its funding support and we hope the reflections story will help provide clear aims, impacts and outcomes that can help potential funders best understand the value add of supporting our kaupapa. Lastly, thank you for all the ongoing support from our WWP, WEL Energy Trust WRC and our LOLF community.