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Community Connectors across NZ to support recovery

Carmel Sepuloni Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly.

A total of 125 Community Connector positions are being established throughout the country to focus on helping people connect with the services they need post COVID-19, announced Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni. 

“Some New Zealanders have multiple needs – for example unemployment as well as other psycho-social needs such as health-related issues, housing issues, job-training and crisis support that have been compounded due to COVID-19,” she says.

Community Connectors will assist people to get the information and access they need from multiple government agencies and service providers, with a wide geographical reach, particularly in those areas not already serviced by Whānau Ora Commissioning agencies.

The service will also work with diverse populations, such as Māori, Pacific and ethnic groups, seniors and people with disabilities or significant health conditions.

“Supporting people who may be rurally or socially isolated is also a major focus for the service,” says Sepuloni.

She says the positions will be based within existing NGOs who are already working to provide social services to vulnerable communities, and the model is a holistic, strengths-based initiative that builds on already successful navigator models in the social services sector.

“As a Government we aim to lift people out of vulnerable situations by focusing on an individual or family’s specific needs, with a view to support them back into employment.”

MSD intends to work with existing contracted service providers to establish these positions with a focus on providers that have the existing capability to set up the service quickly and in line with how they currently operate.

The Government investment in the Community Connectors Service is $41.25 million over two years and creates 125 new positions.

“It’s part of a Community Wellbeing package that supports the sustainability and effectiveness of social services delivered by non-government organisations to vulnerable New Zealanders,” Sepuloni says.

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