Community facilitator begins new role during lockdown

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Starting a new job under Covid-19 is a challenge but Connect Cromwell’s new community facilitator Nicola Nolet, of Queensbury, is beginning to find her feet.
“It is quite interesting starting this job in the lockdown.”
Her experience included many years working in mental health.
She was also a qualified yoga teacher and had trained as a child-centred play therapist.
Helping people tell their stories had been an important part of her life for many years.
Roles including being part of Christchurch’s Playback Theatre had shown her how important social connection was for people.
“I’ve always believed in people being given a forum to tell their stories.”
Hearing other people’s stories enabled healing and connection, she said.
“I think that these things cover every age group, whether it’s children right through to elderly people.”
Every culture had some form of storytelling or a meeting circle, she said.
“So I am hoping to utilise that skill in this job.”
Although the Covid-19 lockdown was having a major effect in the region, Cromwell had a high level of resilience and care for others.
“People want to help and innately care.”
The history of the region including the gold mining era showed how many in the past had overcome isolation and extreme hardship and had survived, she said.
Many were used to surviving seasons, “like hideous frosts, and they will all survive them”.
In a way the lockdown was another example of being able to be resilient and innovate using local resources.
“I feel that because Cromwell is originally gold mining and farming that it’s in the bones of the place.”
Cromwellhad a very diverse community from retirees to tradies to professionals and travellers, and she was excited to help them, she said.
“It is not about me doing it for them, it is more about walking beside them – facilitating and advocating.”
During the lockdown she and her husband as well as her 81-year-old mother were finding things to do at their home in Queensbury.
“Jigsaw puzzles are really good – I’m glad I bought two the day before the lockdown.”
She was also unpacking boxes and finding joy in putting up artwork and treasures from her various travels.
Ms Nolet said even during the lockdown she was encouraging people to stay in contact and visit the group’s social media page.
“We’ve got some ideas even just to keep the children entertained.”