Otago Polytechnic
Green Island Shed birdboxes

Building community engagement

Occupational therapy students have helped the new Green Island Shed engage local children.

The Green Island Shed has been recently established with the goal of providing a safe environment for people to meet, gain life skills, and undertake community projects to enhance Green Island. Green Island Shed coordinator Pip Weber worked with a team of occupational therapy students to begin to engage children with the Shed.

The two students, Kadison Casey and Grace Macdonald, organised an event for children at the Shed. For this first event eight children attended with their parents. Under supervision the children constructed and decorated birdboxes. The 8- to 12-year-old children enjoyed learning new skills and parents were also enthusiastic about the event. An added bonus is that such events also help people in the community get to know each other and feel a sense of belonging in the community.

The students were careful not to run the event themselves but to support the Shed members to do so, to help ensure such events will continue to be held in future.  The students recommend a social media site and/or email address be set up to help facilitate Shed event communications.