Aim for improved Wairoa fitness
 Wairoa College students will have greater reason to improve their physical fitness and challenge themselves and friends to develop a healthier lifestyle when a new fitness centre opens at school next year. Helped with a gift of $20,000 from the Eastern and Central Community Trust, the planned outdoor fitness centre will provide various wire and jump ropes, climbing apparatus and other equipment for a solid work-out.

 “There are few free activities for young people in Wairoa and there is ample community support for this project,” says Community Trust General Manager Jonathan Bell. “Wairoa College is a low-decile school in a town struggling economically. The Community Trust is very supportive of projects that enhance the community's lifestyle,” he says.

 The $20,000 helps the college meet the $84,000 price-tag target, and Principal Brian Simpson says construction will begin as soon as final fundraising is in place. “The greatest benefit will be that it gives students something to work on during their school breaks and an opportunity to challenge themselves and each other so it is a positive, additional amenity for Wairoa,” he says

 The centre will be used by the college's physical education students, sporting codes and senior students involved in the Services Academy, which is run in conjunction with the Ministries of Defence and Education to provide leadership and introductory military-type skills. “This will be a facility for educational and recreational use for both the college and the wider community” says Mr Bell.

Christmas clean-up for Wairoa Playcentre
There is good news for the Wairoa Playcentre, with a donation of $25,000 from the Eastern and Central Community Trust to ensure remedial work on recladding its building can go ahead during the summer holidays.

 Playcentre President Rosalie Bennett says inspection of the deteriorating exterior has revealed some level of asbestos and, although this is not deemed an immediate health hazard for the visiting children and families, her volunteer team sees removal as critical to the centre's overall health and safety code. “This donation, which allows the work to go ahead, is wonderful news for Wairoa as the play centre is the town's only parent-led education service for preschoolers, where parents stay with their children, teaching and learning alongside them,” she says. 

About 15 families and 26 children are currently involved in the twice-weekly activities. “It is also somewhere where new parents can meet and support each other,” says Rosalie.

 Smaller donations, each of $2,500, are being given to Tidal Arts for its annual Gifted Sands art exhibition at Mahia Beach, and to the Citizens Advice Bureau to support its ongoing services.

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