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Central Otago Reap has received funding from the Ministry of Social Development for a Community Connector Service.

A collective of Central Otago community organisations has been formed to assist people navigating a Covid-19 world.

Reap’s Rural Education Activities Programme has appointed two part-time Community Connector positions based at Centennial Ave, Alexandra, servicing the Central Otago catchments of Alexandra, Cromwell, Earnscleugh-Manuherikia, Maniototo, Roxburgh, Clyde and Ranfurly.

Reap representatives agree the funding was ‘‘perfect timing’’ to continue developing the service.

Central Otago Reap manager Bernice Lepper said it was a great opportunity to support people and whanau within the community and provide direct support to people so they could access information and services as required post-Covid-19.

Sue Tait and Helen Adair have been employed as the new community connectors for Central Otago.

Sue Tait and Helen Adair have been employed as the new community connectors for Central Otago.

Alexandra Community House manager Carole Gillions is also employed to lead the new project.

‘‘It’s about understanding that everybody is in a changing world at the moment and those changes could become more significant over time,’’ Ms Gillions said.

‘‘People only know what they know — so we encourage people to come and see what is available.

‘‘It’s so easy to think ‘OK, I can cope at the moment, I can get through’.’’

However, the aim is to help people get ‘‘on the front foot’’ sooner, rather than later.

Although Community Connection Service has only just officially launched, 38 people have already called on the service, which will be offered until June 2022.

Work can be undertaken with individuals, whanau and also through discussions with groups.

Ministry of Social Development regional commissioner Jason Tibble said the community connection service was a fantastic resource for the local community.

‘‘Navigating the many agencies in the region and knowing where to go for the right support can be difficult.’’

He said community connectors appointed will help people and whanau access information and support they need to rebuild and recover from the impacts of Covid-19.

‘‘We encourage those who need assistance or have questions about what help is available to them to make use of the local community connection service.’’

In July the Government announced it would allocate $41.25 million over the next two years to help fund community connector positions throughout New Zealand.

The positions are funded through the Government’s Covid Response and Recovery Fund, which is focused on cushioning the blow from the pandemic, supporting businesses and workers, and positioning the economy for recovery.

– For more information phone 0800 267-327 or email manager@coreap.org.nz