Chamber, community groups offer help 

Kane Rangitonga

Businesses have prepared for the lockdown situation, but the focus is on small businesses to prevent them from going under.

That is the message from Te Awamutu Chamber of Commerce chief executive Kerrianne Krelle as she and the rest of the region try to adapt to the lockdown situation.

She said the current lockdown came just as businesses were starting to recover from the previous lockdown.

“The retail sector has particularly been severely impacted by these restrictions,” she said.

“But I believe that as frustrating as this situation is, the past year or so has been the ultimate acid test for businesses from all sectors, and many business owners will feel confident that if they can survive the past year, then the business can recover from any trading climate.”

“We are keeping the lines of communication open with local businesses to add moral support and motivation and ensuring that they have access to any subsidies that can assist them financially,” she said.

“My advice is remember, you are not alone.”

Meanwhile, two charitable trusts have joined forces to help the community in Te Awamutu.

Kainga Aroha Community House and Kai4All is lending a hand to the community with food and supplies.

Kainga Aroha Manager Kane Rangitonga said that the longer the lockdown continues, the more people will need services such as theirs.

“This lockdown people have seemed to be able to plan ahead a little due to lockdown updates coming every three or four days but if it continues it will put a strain on people,” he said.

“The longer the lockdown is, the more need there is not only for food and supplies but support for people’s mental health and wellbeing.”

Kerrianne Krelle

Kai 4 All organiser Tuhiao Halling said there had been a demand for the organisation’s service.

“Our first day on Thursday we had 40-60 people lined up, socially distant, before we had the doors open.”

Kai 4 All is opposite the vaccination centre in Te Awamutu and that had encouraged more people to head across the road and enquire about getting the vaccine.

Tuhiao is working with a small team, her husband John and son Dion, and is calling for volunteers from the community to help.

“We want to create an environment where the community can remain together while doing our part to keep the community safe.”

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