August/September 2016

Another year, and we’ve held our sixth Annual General Meeting (AGM). AGMs are part and parcel of every responsible charitable Trust’s statutory duties but need not be boring! This year we anticipated a big attendance, and were concerned that we may not have provided enough refreshments. In the end however we had plenty of refreshments, great discussion and another successful AGM.

I was away for much of the month of July on annual leave so it was very reassuring to return to a well run office, with great progress being made in a number of areas.

InsulationWe’ve had a boom in Home Performance Assessment work, particularly in North East Valley, just as the cold has hit. We currently have all four Home Performance Assessors busy on jobs and we are picking up some rental properties in very poor condition. Our Assessors conduct a thorough assessment of the house in conjunction with the home owners or occupiers. Their assessment is based on an expert understanding of the science of home performance and ways to improve it. They diagnose any underlying problems and identify any actions needed to address those problems. They then prepare a report on their assessment and prioritise their recommendations to help the home owner and/or occupier to make improvements suited to their situation.

We’ve been continuing to work with the Community Energy Network (CEN) to get the Healthy Rental Certification programme up and running here in Dunedin, which of course includes the Blueskin area. CEN is a national network of community enterprises working together to create warm homes, strong communities and a healthy environment. There’s a lot of pretty tedious administration work involved and this always sits behind the services we offer.

Design students at the Otago Polytechnic have been busy working on designs for the Climate Safe House project and these designs will be featured on the Climate Safe House website that we expect to make live in September.  The students are doing this design as part of their studies. The project provides them with valuable experience in designing for real life, while learning about the issue of sea level rise and its impact on communities.

Kat, our Projects Coordinator, attended a Systems Dynamics workshop in July and told me that “Its been a great help to be able to use a modelling technique to understand and visualise non-linear, complex issues and problems that affect everybody in everyday life”. I take that to mean it helped her recognise the useful patterns in the chaos of community work where we work to do so much on the smell of an oily rag.

You can find us on Facebook as Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust, on Twitter as @BlueskinPower and you can call 03 4822048 or call in to visit and find out more about any of our work. Our office is located in Waitati at Waitati School and you can contact us by email at: office@brct.org.nz