Thanks to the overwhelming support from the Whaingaroa community, the Old School SOS Monster Garage Sale was a huge success.
Over $5000 was raised on the day to help the much-loved arts centre recover from the financial fallout from the nationwide Covid-19 Level 4 lockdown. A number of people also made cash donations including a large one from Elsa Lye for $1,000 with $500 going to the SOS fundraiser and $500 towards setting up the new Clay Shed.
Arts Centre manager Jacqueline Anderson says the non-profit arts centre primarily relies on movie screenings, music events, clay classes, room hires and workshops to cover operational costs.
â€œWe are extremely grateful to our community for searching their wardrobes, basements and garages and donated the goods on offer, and then coming out in full force to buy up large. I think it shows how much the Old School means to the people of Raglan.â€
Raglan Community Arts Council chair Rodger Gallagher says this isnâ€™t the first time the community have rallied behind the Old School. The centre started life as a one-room school in 1883.
When the community outgrew the building and the new school at Norrie Ave was expanded in 1962, the site and Old School building was given to the Raglan County Council. From 1962 till 1988, the building had many uses including shearing competitions, beauty competitions and in 1975 the building was used as the Raglan County Council office and smoko room.
After years of neglect the old school was close to being demolished when a campaign led by local kuia Tuaiwa Hautai â€˜Evaâ€™ Rickard and the first Raglan Community Arts Councilâ€™s chairperson Glen Young, helped the building achieve Historic Places Act legal protection. The arts centre was established in 1988 and a combined group of the Raglan Community Arts Council and the Whaingaroa Work Co-operative volunteers started work refurbishing and restoring the building.
â€œThe Old School has grown from strength-to-strength since it was first established as a community arts centre and Iâ€™m certain, with the community behind us, we will come back stronger than ever,â€ Rodger says.
“The SOS Garage Sale has almost balanced the books. We will be having some SOS music events over the next few months so we are back in the black and can deliver what the community needs.”
Thanks to Four Square, Isobar, Kanuka, Liquor Centre, Raglan Book and Gift, Raglan Pharmacy, Raglan Surf New Zealand, The Monster Company, SuperValue, The Shack, Zinnia, Plants by Sill and Jillian Lankshear for their generous donations to the raffle.
Thanks also to Jonas from Overhead Electrical for electrical testing, Lala Land for the cake donation, ULOs for the sushi cake, Raglan Coconut Yoghurt for the yoghurt, Raglan Artisan Bread and Xtreme Zero Waste.
â€œA big shout out to the key volunteers who put in many hours behind the scenes – Maureen Soanes, Sherry Coulson, Lois Brooks, Jillian Lankshear, Bob Noble, Julie Hanna, Kay Fong and all of our whanÄu army of Arts Centre members, family and friends who also provided much-needed support,â€ Jacqueline adds.