Welfare needs rise in lockdown 

Welfare committees in Waipā, Waitomo and Ōtorohanga have been very active and supportive of residents during the latest Covid lockdown, says Waipā District Council Emergency Management operations manager David Simes.

Food parcels and kai distribution were made regularly.

The numbers requiring food support during level four exceeded all expectations, he said.

Help from the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) enabled Foodbanks to restock, Simes told the Strategic Planning and Policy committee this week.

Strategic Partnerships manager Gary Knight said a common frustration among councils during this year’s lockdowns was the lack of a fully coordinated approached nationally.

“The approach to social support during these phases has been a centralised approach through government agencies such as the Ministry is Social Development and the Waikato DHB.

“This is in contrast to the 2020 lockdown where a Civil Defence response was iniatiated and a more community-based approach to welfare and well-being was established,” he said.

That centralised support function lacked local connection and an understanding of individual needs was complicated by the fact many people thought the support was for existing MSD clients, said Knight.

“Across all sectors of the community, there is a growing desire for local leadership and action.”

Crisis calls to Community Mental Health from new people were up but there appeared to be no increase in new referrals.

Waipā’s two community advisors have found specific data around how children are being impacted has been difficult to source from organisations like Youthline and Lifeline.

“Uncertainty for children continues to be an area of concern,” he said.

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