Fresh faces, ser­vices to support fam­i­lies

Central Otago Mirror - - EASTER - JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN

There are fresh faces and new ser­vices for peo­ple seek­ing support around Cen­tral Otago and the Queen­stown Lakes District.

Pres­by­te­rian Support Otago Fam­ily Works Ser­vices prac­tice man­ager Rachel McA­nally said the ser­vice had em­ployed new ‘‘buddy co-or­di­na­tors’’ and had em­ployed three fi­nan­cial men­tors for a new con­tract they had ac­quired.

‘‘The fi­nan­cial men­tor­ing is a new ser­vice for us. We are very ex­cited be­cause it gives us a more wrap around ap­proach sup­port­ing in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies.

‘‘It is a new model put out by the Min­istry of So­cial De­vel­op­ment which is a strength-based ap­proach that aims to build fi­nan­cial in­de­pen­dence for peo­ple. We have al­ready seen re­ally cool out­comes from it.’’

Fi­nan­cial men­tors Bruce Smith and San­dra O’Neill worked across the Cen­tral Otago and Man­iototo re­gions, while Nancy McMil­lan would be based in Queen­stown.

‘‘The fi­nan­cial men­tors work one on one and also pro­vide money mate groups to support peo­ple to take con­trol of their fi­nances.’’

A new buddy co-or­di­na­tor He­len Bond worked 20 hours a week cov­er­ing Alexan­dra and Cromwell, while Sharon Bell cov­ers Wanaka. The buddy pro­gramme was a men­tor­ing pro­gramme for chil­dren aged between four and 12.

‘‘We train and match adult buddy vol­un­teers and match them to chil­dren who re­quire some ex­tra in­put into their lives due to dif­fer­ing fam­ily sit­u­a­tions. We are al­ways look­ing for vol­un­teers to match with chil­dren on the wait­ing list. We cur­rently have 11 on the wait­ing list. There is a ca­pac­ity to have 40 matches around the Cen­tral Otago area.’’

‘‘Bud­dies don’t get in­volved in school or dra­mas. It is one on one and it helps build and de­velop chil­dren’s so­cial skills and gives them dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ences. It might just be fly­ing a kite...it is about low to no­cost ac­tiv­i­ties.’’

The ser­vice’s so­cial work­ers also pro­vided par­ent­ing support ei­ther one on one or through an ‘‘In­cred­i­ble Years’’ par­ent­ing pro­gramme, ad­vo­cacy and group pro­grammes.

‘‘We work with fam­i­lies, in­di­vid­u­als, el­derly and any­one ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a chal­leng­ing time in their life.’’

There are premises at Alexan­dra Com­mu­nity House and re­fer­rals can be made via fam­i­ly­work­so­tago.org.nz or call Rachel on 0273457571.

JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN

Pres­by­te­rian Support Otago Fam­ily Works Ser­vices team.

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