A not-for-profit charitable trust is setting up a base in Central Otago in response to perceived gaps in additional social support for young people, adults and families in the region.
Following eight public forums held in the region last week, Community Care Trust (CCT) staff said they would be setting up a base in Central Otago in response to identified needs.
That included the need for age-appropriate respite care and help for young people moving from school into the community.
CCT quality and innovation manager Pam Tomkins said the trust provided support for young people and adults with intellectual disabilities and/or on the autistic spectrum.
The trust helps clients access support, ranging from specialist health services to budgeting, job seeking and developing social networks, to enable them to be involved in their communities.
Staff also network with other community and social agencies, depending on a client’s needs.
Mrs Tomkins said the trust had received an increase in requests for help from people in the region, and had also heard of families moving from their communities to bigger towns to access the type of support the trust provided.
A survey CCT carried out last year also identified the need for an additional support provider in Central Otago.
“There is potential for us to add value in terms of what else is already there,” she said.
Mrs Tomkins said about 40 people attended the eight forums, including some from the community and existing service providers, who gave feedback related to their personal views and experiences.
“People talked about community resilience, and how caring, supportive and strong their communities were,” she said.
“That was something that they were really proud of – how people look after each other.
“We also asked what would be one thing that would be crucial for us to know.”
She said age-appropriate respite care was needed, especially for under-65s and, in particular, young people, for whom going into a rest-home might not be ideal.
“They wanted to access respite care that was the right fit for them,” Mrs Tomkins said.
There were also issues around social isolation, accessing teacher aid packages and housing, as well as the need for support to help young people transition from school into the community, either to work or do something meaningful with their day.
Gaining employment, building independence and developing skills for going flatting was “really important”, she said.
However, many 17-to-20-year-olds left the area for work, travel or school, meaning there was less of a peer support structure or “buddy system” for some young people.
The trust did not want to duplicate existing resources within communities and feedback indicated the need and the opportunities to collaborate with existing agencies within the region.
“To work and collaborate effectively was a key thing,” she said.
“It is really important people have choice and it’s about finding the best fit for the person or the family.
“We are not looking to take over.”
The trust had already started supporting clients in the region and until offices and locally based additional staff were appointed, staff would be driving to Central Otago once a week.