After months of planning and anticipation, the Kihikihi Community Health Hub is now open on the grounds of Kihikihi School on Whitmore Street.
The Kihikihi Community Health Hub is a place where groups with a focus on health or wellbeing can meet, where generations of whanau can gather, and where people can collaborate and connect to promote healthy, positive lifestyles.
The hub was established thanks to the support of many businesses, organisations and individuals including the Kihikihi Rotary Club, Pinnacle Midlands Health Network and the Te Awamutu Medical Centre, Sport Waikato, Kihikihi School board of trustees, Te Awamutu Maori Women's Welfare League and INKDROP Graphic Design.
The concept grew from the success of free weekly health clinics at Kihikihi School by Te Awamutu Medical Centre.
The medical centre had received innovation funding from Pinnacle Midlands Health Network towards "improving access" to health care for patients, and launched its popular "Doctor at School" free health clinics at Kihikihi School in 2016.
"The concept proved so successful that it grew from there," said Wayne Lim, practice manager from Te Awamutu Medical Centre. "Kihikihi Rotary and the school really got behind it. A group of community-minded people came together and we wanted to see the whole Kihikihi community benefit from better access to health and lifestyle information, not just the children, but adults too. "
Lim said that transport difficulties, getting time off work, and other practical concerns were some of the reasons it was hard for people to access health care. "We are developing this Health Hub right in the heart of the Kihikihi community to improve the availability of good health and lifestyle advice," said Lim. "Our aim is to improve the overall level of wellbeing in the community. We hope that the wider community can realise some of the same health benefits the kids have had through the clinics at school."
The Hub will be dedicated to the memory of Kihikihi woman Billie Crossley, who passed away recently. "Billie was a pivotal community figure and a life member of the Te Awamutu Maori Women's Welfare League," said Lim. "She was a kuia to many and a highly respected member of the Kihikihi community." A plaque will be unveiled during the opening ceremony to honour the memory of Billie Crossley.
Initially, Te Awamutu Medical Centre and Sport Waikato will be using the space. "We would like to hear from any organisations and lifestyle or health professionals who are interested in using the space for community focused activities," said Mr Lim.
Following the launch, the working group will develop a webpage, Facebook page and online calendar.
Pinnacle Midlands Health Network CEO John Macaskill-Smith said it was wonderful to see the local medical centre, and other organisations, championing community health. "Kihikihi is a thriving, positive community and it's heartening to see the school, the medical centre, and all these wonderful organisations get behind such a great cause - the health and wellbeing of their own local community," said Mr Macaskill-Smith.
For more information on Pinnacle Midlands Health Network see itsmyhealth.co.nz