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New Community Link initiative introduced at Community Whanau meeting

July 8th, 2010
by David Armstrong

The monthly community whanau meeting held yesterday was again well attended, with 20 people interested in community activities and services gathering over lunch hour at the Community House to share their news and concerns.

Many people were interested to hear from Tim Leyland, a representative of the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), who announced the Motueka Community Link initiative, which will by the end of the year transform the WINZ Service Centre in Motueka to become a multi-agency office. It will be a step-up from the existing Heartlands system.

Motueka Community Link aims to make it easier for people, families and communities to access the help and support they need. It involves many organisations, government and non-government, working together in the same location. The ministry is aware that many people it serves have a wider range of needs than just what WINZ can offer. Community Link will be a place where resources are shared, agencies cooperate and coordinate, and working together is flexible and adaptable.

In practical terms, Community Link will provide for the community and partner agencies meeting and interview rooms, work desks with computers and printers, and broadband internet and phones - all free of charge.

At next month's community whanau meeting, MSD will make a more detailed presentation about the initiative, but for now it is seeking ideas from residents and community groups who are interested in fostering and using the resources, on a regular or casual basis. For further information, contact Gavin Cook at 03 907 0243 or gavin.cook001@msd.govt.nz

Also introduced for the first time were plans for the Motueka Community Trust. Fraser Campbell and others have been preparing the trust and is in the process of getting Charitable Trust status. Their aim is to provide resources - training, logistical and/or financial - for any group that is trying to make life better for local people who are in need of help.

Fraser said the proposed Trust grew out of efforts by some people at the Baptist Church to make a difference in the community, and will provide more detail about plans and goals once the Trust is registered.

Ron Sharp reminded the Whanau that a 'sub-group', called the Response Group, has been set up to help provide a communication channel and community voice for any community group wanting assistance to advocate for changes.

The Family Service Centre told of the forthcoming national "Latch-on" event for breastfeeding. At last year's event Motueka had the third-largest number of mums latching on.

Get Safe Motueka pleaded for anyone who had any ideas about new rooms they could rent, as their existing space near the fire station was damaged by flooding in May.

Tara Forde reminded all that the local body elections were coming up soon, and urged community groups to host forums on issues of special interest and ask candidates to speak at the forums about their policies.




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