New community enterprise hub opens in Lower Hutt

Press Release – Common Unity Project Aotearoa

A run-down former factory in Lower Hutt has a new lease of life as a social enterprise business incubator, thanks to an award-winning community organisation.New community enterprise hub opens in Lower Hutt

A run-down former factory in Lower Hutt has a new lease of life as a social enterprise business incubator, thanks to an award-winning community organisation.

The new Re-makery Space in Epuni is the headquarters for the Common Unity Project Aotearoa (CUPA), a charitable trust that’s been operating in Lower Hutt since 2012.

The Re-makery is home to projects including a koha café, honey production, a sewing enterprise that repurposes old corporate uniforms, a food share store and grocery co-op, and a “backyard farming” initiative.

CUPA is officially opening its new Re-makery Space at 310 Waiwhetu Road, Lower Hutt on Sunday 3rd September. There will be a site blessing at 9am tours and free workshops throughout the day.

CUPA founder Julia Milne says the Re-Makery is dedicated to providing the resources necessary for people to create prosperous, resilient livelihoods.

It builds on the success of initiatives such as the Epuni Primary School garden and food production project, which helped earn CUPA the recognition of Supreme Winner in the 2014 Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards.

“It’s inspiring to be part of a community that’s taking the lead to create sustainable, inclusive solutions for itself,” says Milne.

Over the past 3 months, CUPA has been converting the old Waiwhetu Road plaster moldings factory, which was started by Fred Biggins in 1943, into their new hub. In total, 18 enterprises already share the 1600 square metre space.

Epuni resident Rochelle Browne is involved with a number of the enterprises. She’s been making functional and fashionable baby bibs as part of the Sew Good Sewing Co-op, and recently completed barista training with Coffee Supreme, who have generously donated a coffee machine and coffee beans to the koha café.

“It’s such a welcoming place, where your background isn’t important, it’s just a great place to develop skills and meet people,” says Browne.

“All the volunteers and workers here support each other. I’m learning heaps and spending time here has helped me build confidence in my abilities. Next up, I’m looking forward to learning how to use recycled wood to build tables and planter boxes for my home.”

Over the next four years, CUPA aims to develop numerous enterprises from the Re-makery that will return employment and opportunity to the Lower Hutt community. All profits generated will be invested in development of food projects and local urban agriculture – in particular Urban Kai farms which are being established across the Valley.

Milne says the foundation of the Remakery is built on strong partnerships and collaborations with a variety of organisations, including government agencies and businesses.

“Our next mission is to build an off-grid production kitchen that will be a community- run facility to produce 2500 meals per day – all from local food.

“Everyone’s welcome to come and help us celebrate the opening of the new space and to get involved,” says Milne.
ENDS

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