Sit down for a chat

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The Pantry manager Lisa Mohenoa and barista Wiremu Akuhata.

TO help to break down social barriers and reconnect people, a conversation table has been set aside at The Pantry’s cafe in South City for those who may want to enjoy a cuppa and a chat.

“It is a way for people to mingle and meet… some people may enjoy the company,” South Alive community project co-ordinator Janette Malcolm said.

Described as a “destination shop”, South Alive’s The Pantry was a community owned bulk food store and cafe.

The table was clearly marked with a sign Talking Table, so if anyone sat at the table it meant they welcomed interaction from others.

“We had talked to regulars at the cafe and wondered if they had any interest in being with other people. There was no obligation, it is just a way of offering the possibility to people to communicate with others if they want.”

Conversations with council

Once a month there will also be an informal “conversations with council-style” session at The Pantry’s cafe.

Ms Malcolm said the idea was to give people the chance to come to The Pantry, sit down and engage in informal conversations about anything council-related with an experienced senior council staffer who could take people’s concerns forward.

“When we talk to people, they are enthusiastic about it… one suggestion was because of all the traffic along Dalrymple St, to ask about a possible pedestrian crossing outside the Blues Rugby Club.”

Any topic could be broached, it didn’t necessarily have to be South City-related, she said.

Hosted by Invercargill City Council roading manager Russell Pearson, people could talk to him or ask questions about anything council-related.

“There used to be a discussion panel on Cue TV, but since that closed, there has been less opportunity for an informal public-council discussion forum,” Ms Malcolm said.

“It is an opportunity for people to have genuine discussions to do good in the community.”

The conversations with council will be held on the first Tuesday of each month, from noon to 1pm, at The Pantry.

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