Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Setting up a Centre of Well-Being

Centre of well-being Tapescript part three
Setting up.

I ask the personal trainer to explain how the centre got to be where it is today.

“You need to talk to the development office,” he says and carts me off through the doors opposite the open market.

“I would like to know how all this came about,” I say as we are introduced to people in the office. We sit down on green sofas in reception.

“We started by inviting individuals, organisations, groups and companies in to participate in the scheme. They put themselves on the map. Each of them made their own brochures and put them in the Bank. Our role was to set this centre up, setting the map system up.”

“And marketing?” I ask
“We do a basic amount of marketing by marketing the Centre and the area together. The idea is that all participants market the Centre and the Centre markets all participants.”

The Centre insisted on doing the colour coding system ourselves, and they are still developing it. The shops then took on the colour system.

The initial project set the building up. The Centre owners act as landlords and administrators.

Thinking about the human side of setting up I ask;”were there any seminars?”

“We ran a lot of seminars and workshops to get people on board and involved.”

“What about finance?” I ask.

“We were locally financed by the government. You cannot expect people to finance this themselves, the initiative and initial financing has to come from a central place.”

“What about creating standards of service?”

“We ask every “scheme participant” to state the standards their operation will reach. If they do not keep these standards they will not be marketed by us. Once you get it right it is very simple, once you know what you are doing.”

“What were your main problems in setting this up?”

“The main challenge was convincing people to join the scheme and that the opportunities were real. We went round showing the map from the beginning. We showed what we had and what as needed. Then we got all potential scheme participants together and told them what we wanted in terms of nodes or intersections.”

“We wanted someone to provide accommodation, a few to look after the trails on a voluntary basis etc.”

“We went around to these areas, ran workshops locally. Then we said to people “what courses can you run using the schools” we will market it.”

“The hardest thing was getting people to believe that it would really give them any income. Once it started it was no problem.”

“Because we took the lead, came with the concept from the beginning, and because we started the centre and were clear about what we wanted it was easier for participants to see where they fitted in.”

“The threshold for getting involved was low as well, which contributed to the scheme’s success.”

“To get started you made your own brochure according to our standards of what the contents should be. The food had to be regional and healthy.”

I thank everyone, they thank me for coming and I leave, back past the fountain to the departure lounge.

End of Centre of Well-being tapescript part three

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