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Safe Mid Canterbury demands growing

Safe Mid Canterbury demands growing
Mid Canterbury general manager Kevin Clifford says the service provider has significantly outgrown its current premises. 

Safer Mid Canterbury has outgrown its offices as demand for its services grows, general manager Kevin Clifford says.
The community service provider is eyeing bigger office space as it expands its services and demand continues to grow.
Since moving into Community House six years ago, Clifford said staff have doubled and they no longer have the capacity to have all the staff on one site and have had to use other offices in town.
“We have been in discussions with Community House about securing a much larger office space to deliver our services from.”
In his annual report to its major funder, the Ashburton District Council, Clifford said Community House is looking at purchasing a neighbouring building and they hope to move in next year.
As part of the process, Safer Mid Canterbury will cover the cost of the internal fit-out, he said, which is estimated to be around $250,000, and in the past year, they worked to put money aside to cover the cost.
“It’s hoped the new premises will meet our needs for the very long-term future.”
Those needs continue to expand, led by the refugee resettlement and dealing with the social impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Clifford said the refugee resettlement has been a major piece of work in the past 12 months and that will increase this year.
“Over the next 12 months, we are looking to settle around 100 refugees across our district.”
The biggest issue has been accessing housing in a timely fashion to accommodate the incoming families, he said.
“We are aware this will remain a challenge as numbers increase.
“As a way to manage the situation, Safer Mid Canterbury has decided to purchase two transitional houses for refugees.”
They have already purchased a three-bedroom home and will be looking to add a four-bedroom property in the future, he said, which as well as providing transitional housing will provide security for the organisation in the long term.
Clifford said they have picked up extra contracts under the Ministry of Social Development to support people affected by Covid – with 294 referrals of families requiring assistance in the last 12 months.
They also used additional funding for its attendance service which “has more than doubled over the past two years”.
Pre-Covid he said they were expecting around 60 referrals per year for non-attendance or enrolment in schools, but in the past 12 months they had 151.
“This service was underfunded pre-Covid so although we have had an increase we are still woefully under-resourced and over worked in this area.”
Safer Mid Canterbury has been awarded the contract to deliver Restorative Justice services in Oamaru – and already offers the service in Ashburton and Timaru.

  • By Jonathan Leask