Funding revitalises Starfish
After months of ‘‘running on love’’ Matamata Starfish Social Services has been given a grant enabling it to stay open for good.
It received $100,000 from the Ministry of Social Development, $ 30,000 from Lotteries and additional support from the community. Starfish founder and counsellor Jo McNaughton said they were extremely thankful as this meant they could afford a new team member. Meet Linda Naniseni. She is the new youth and family counsellor at Starfish and is dedicated to making a difference in people’s lives.
‘‘ I have a real
see people reach their full potential in life and for people to know there is someone out there that really cares about them,’’ she said.
‘‘So I am very excited and really looking forward to the next leg of my journey.’’ Mrs Naniseni was a counsellor at Living without Violence in Tauranga before taking a part-time role at Starfish.
She will be there every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
‘‘I really wanted to work with youth. My own journey has given me a passion to walk alongside those people and help them out – I am passionate about this work.’’
She believes counselling is crucial when working through a difficult time as she has been through it herself.
‘‘It is a vital part to overcoming problems. You don’t have to stay in that dark place and people need to know that.’’
Mrs Naniseni graduated with has recently a degree in counselling at Bethlehem tute of Technology.
She lives in Tauranga with her husband and commutes to Matamata.
She has three children and two grandchildren and admits that she loves to do a bit of op-shopping in her spare time, go out for coffee and watch a good movie.
At the beginning of this year, Starfish had all its funding cut which left concern about the future.
‘‘This money has meant we can keep up the work load and have capacity to take on new referrals and serve the community through youth development,’’ Mrs McNaughton said.
‘‘With Linda now here – we have a very strong team.’’
Here to help: Linda Naniseni is the new youth and family counsellor at Starfish youth and social services in Matamata.