Social service needs on rise
With rising living costs more families are finding themselves in desperate situations in the South Waikato.
Tokoroa Council of Social Services (TCOSS) manager Josiah Teokotai said last year alone the service noticed a 200 per cent rise in clients.
TCOSS provides a range of services such as improving service coordination for vulnerable children, support for those affected by family violence, and social workers in schools.
Teokotai said while the increase is good, in some aspects it was a double edged sword.
‘‘It’s fantastic for us that we have had this increase but getting them through the doors and providing a service for their well being are two different things,’’ he said.
He said funding continues to be an issue for the non-profit organisation.
‘‘Providing services like counselling, advocacy, and school social workers is where we are finding a hiccup. We have tried to secure funding which is a big issue,’’ he said.
Teokotai said TCOSS had been able to retain its coordinator.
‘‘We applied for $120,000 from Trust Waikato and we were successful with $30,000 to keep our coordinator so the well being of our community is something that we are striving to achieve,’’ he said.
South Waikato Collaborative coordinator Marama Tahapehi, who was formerly the project manager of the Government-backed Social Sector Trials, which has now been transitioned into the collaborative, said community support was essential if such services were to continue.
‘‘There has been push from Auckland pushing all the families here. We are seeing an increase in a lot of families that are in need,’’ she said.
‘‘This is the only district that has decided to continue the work that we have done in five years, other places have dropped it because anything to do with social well being is in the too hard basket so I really encourage thought around more investment.’’
She thanked the South Waikato District Council and the Raukawa Charitable Trust for their continued support.
Mayor Jenny Shattock, who has been involved with the Social Sector Trials herself, said it was important work that needed to continue.
Tokoroa Council of Social Services (TCOSS) manager Josiah Teokotai.