Frontline social service providers in Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes have received a much-needed shot in the arm, to the tune of $1 million.
The grants come via the Central Lakes Trust and, in some cases, will be paid as a lump sum, or annually over the next three years.
Chief executive Susan Finlay said the trust was doing what it could to help social organisations support their community.
‘‘Now, more than ever, it is essential for our community that these services are funded to meet demand through the times ahead.’’
Central Lakes Family Services agreed.
Centre manager Tina Mongston said the service, which would receive $85,000 each year for the next three years, had experienced an increased need for mild to moderate mental health support for families and individuals.
‘‘Covid-19 has placed a great deal of pressure on families and we have prepared the service for the recovery process, acknowledging that it will be long and we are yet to see the full impact on the region.’’
The Happiness House Trust, which would receive $55,052 per year for the next three years, had also had an increase in demand.
The group provides practical support and advocacy, agency referrals, access to affordable clothing and bedding and, more recently, counselling in the Wakatipu area.
Manager Robyn Francis said she could not be more grateful for the support; it was ‘‘very reassuring’’ to know the group had a solid foundation of funding towards costs over the coming year.
She said funding had helped extend its free counselling service to those in need.
Alexandra Community Advice Network Incorporated would also receive a grant of $10,000 per year for the next three years.
The network employs one person for 10 hours a week, who co-ordinates about 2500 hours of volunteer work a year.
Treasurer Graeme Parr said the group provided free advice to all residents, to ensure people were aware of services available to them, and were not adversely affected by lack of knowledge, or an ability to communicate.
The group co-ordinated access to a free JP, legal services and meals on wheels.
‘‘While the full impact of Covid-19 is yet to be felt, we expect an increased demand for our services, especially from those who have lost steady employment or whose business income has been adversely affected.’’
He said the service was well placed to direct client inquiries to legal assistance and social services and would strive to source help for those with business, employment or commercial queries as well.