This past year included several months operating almost exclusively through phone calls and emails only, changing onsite location of the Whānau Centre, and a significant increase in staffing.
These changes provided many challenges but will also help shape the way we engage with whānau into the years ahead.
It’s difficult to be an active welcoming place when people are not able to easily walk in or out due to Covid settings. That was our situation for long periods of the past year at a time when the numbers needing support grew dramatically. Many people who have not required access to support in the past are now needing it as the rise in the cost of living hits hard.
In addition to the connection and navigation to services within Visionwest, the Whānau Centre now offers low-intensity social work via our Support Navigators who help whānau to set plans and work to achieve them – often by referring them to other Visionwest services and following them up with encouragement and other support.
A significant milestone this year has been the move from our room next to Pātaka Kai to a larger building that has enabled space for our additional staff and provides greater privacy when client whānau meet with our Whānau Centre Support Navigators.
The support of whānau in experiencing the effects of Covid has been a significant focus of the work of our Community Connector team. For some whānau, this has been related to being in isolation, either because they have Covid or are a close contact. For others, it’s been coordinating support services for those who are experiencing Covid-induced financial hardship.