Fund­ing re­vi­talises Starfish

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By LAURA MCLEAY

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.

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