New role a natural fit for community worker

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Taking on the job of Mataura community development co-ordinator is a natural progression for Eleanor Ranstead.

Mrs Ranstead is involved in Mind Matters and Al-Anon, and helps provide a community lunch, all initiatives hosted at The Bunker in Mataura.

She also works in the field of suicide prevention, a role she said she would continue with.

“It fits hand in hand with the job,” Mrs Ranstead said.

The fact that her husband, John, was the town’s family worker also provided a vital link to the community development co-ordinator’s role.

The co-ordinator’s job was for 20 hours a week.

Mrs Ranstead would have a three-pronged approach to it: to promote Mataura and assist groups hosting events; to work with the community groups, providing better communication between agencies to make sure there was not a double-up in services and accessing services; and to let the community know what services were available.

Co-ordination and communication were key aspects of the role, she said.

Making sure the right hand knew what the left hand was doing was a focus for her.

Looking for opportunities to promote Mataura in a positive light was on Mrs Ranstead’s to-do list. Mataura was a town that had turned a corner and a lift in real estate prices was one indicator of that.

The diversity of the town’s population, which included migrants, would provide another interesting aspect to the work.

She was looking forward to learning more about the multicultural side of the job, including learning more about Maori culture, she said.

Like her predecessor, Jo Brand, she will work out of an office in the former Mataura library.

The office would be open one Saturday morning a fortnight to allow people who work the opportunity to visit and access services they might need, Mrs Ranstead said.

Mrs Ranstead will be at the office Tuesdays to Thursdays, from 9am to 1pm.