A village of “tiny shops” has opened in Linwood creating a relaxed community hub to help revitalise the area.
Christchurch City Council has supported Greening the Rubble and community development organisation Te Whare Roimata, to develop the site at 108 Stanmore Road and make it home to several small stores offering food, second hand clothing, crafts and books.
The tiny shops are located around an existing community garden with a children’s play area and performance space on Stanmore Rd. The goal is to provide a hub of small-scale local businesses, particularly those who lost premises due to the earthquakes and community spaces for people to get together.
Tenants include Kua Hua Ake Te Ao Community Café, Viti Takeaways (Fijian Indochinese) food caravan, The Greengrocer (which operated on the site before the earthquakes), community bike project ICEcycles, Re-link Jewellery, secondhand clothing from the Tin Roof Op Shop, handcrafts and some second-hand books from Stanmore Book and Post.
The Greengrocer, café and Viti Takeaways have already opened with the others following soon. A formal opening event and blessing of the site will be held soon.
A mural designed by Caleb Crofts who works for the Christchurch City Mission, which has been actively involved with the project, brings colour to the site.
Sanil Siwan, owner of Viti Takeaways, says he saw an opportunity to introduce some different types of cuisine to a multicultural community. "Since I live here, it's good to be part of the community and helping to revive the place."
The Greengrocer owner Diane Pratt says the new village is fantastic. "It's good to be back on our old stomping ground. Everyone's important in this world and we care about people. If we can help get this little community up and running, we're very happy to be part of it."
Greening the Rubble volunteers and local residents were involved in constructing some of the four buildings on the site. One of the tiny shops is the former Woolston Voluntary Library, which has been relocated to the site.
Greening the Rubble Co-ordinator Jane Ash says it has been really effective working in partnership with other community groups and the Council on this project.
“I think we can be proud of what we’ve achieved because it’s a direct response to the aspirations of the community; it’s quirky, beautiful and bold and people have a real sense of ownership and excitement about it.
“Greening the Rubble hopes the tiny village will be a well-loved, thriving and beautifully green space. We hope it will unlock more resources, more activity and connectivity for local people and businesses.”
The Council’s Head of Urban Design, Regeneration and Heritage, Carolyn Ingles says the shops are unique and personal to Linwood residents.
"They are made by locals for locals and embrace the history and diversity of this neighbourhood. The goal of this tiny shops project is to create an accessible community hub, a place where people can meet, shop and make connections. It’s something new and special for the Linwood community that will promote revitalisation.”