So­cial ser­vice needs on rise

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY

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.

LUKE KIRKEBY

Toko­roa Coun­cil of So­cial Ser­vices (TCOSS) man­ager Josiah Teoko­tai.

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