Social sector provides critical lockdown support

Published: September 13, 2021

Community organisations and government agencies in the social sector have been working together to help people get critical support during the COVID-19 lockdown. 

Te Pātaka Kai 4412 volunteers prepare food for people during lockdown
Te Pātaka Kai 4412 is one of many community groups providing urgent support to whānau across the country. Pictured is Kristina Bryers (right), Best Care Whakapai Hauora Kaiarataki senior practitioner, and Kylie Johanson, Te Pātaka Kai 4412 Manager.

Meeting urgent welfare needs

Throughout the pandemic, social services have heard from many people with concerns about accessing services or essential items, such as food, internet, accommodation, and respite care for tamariki.

It has been critical to make sure this support is available and accessible for those who need it, particularly during the recent lockdown. 

Government agencies that fund social services, including Oranga Tamariki, have taken a shared approach to supporting welfare and social services for whānau and communities across COVID-19 Alert Levels. 

"Our partners including community groups and providers, hapū, iwi, and other government agencies play a critical role in supporting tamariki and whānau, and they have done some extraordinary work during this latest lockdown,” says Rachel Jones, Acting Deputy Chief Executive for Oranga Tamariki Partnering for Outcomes.

Community organisations deliver services

There are a range of services being provided by government agencies and community providers during the lockdown. This includes food delivery, support around family violence, and mentoring and well-being support for rangatahi.​​​​​​​

"Our team has been collaborating with other agencies to work alongside community groups and organisations who are providing this support across the country," Rachel says.

For example, community groups like Te Pātaka Kai 4412 in Palmerston North have been working hard to provide food for whānau. Their kaimahi have given out food packs for thousands of people during this lockdown. 

In Te Tai Tokerau, our team partnered with Te Iwi o Ngati Kahu to deliver kai to people heavilly impacted by the lockdown restrictions. This includes people who are immune compromised or without access to transport, including kuia and kaumatua who are kaitiaki for their mokopuna. 

Funding to help meet demand

In response to COVID-19, further Government funding has been introduced to help meet the increased demand - whether through funding packages introduced last year or new initiatives such as a $7 million boost in funding for food security networks operating at Alert Level 4.

This type of funding is prioritised primarily through existing food secure communities providers  and existing providers of the Community Connection Service.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

The work Oranga Tamariki does is also contributing to regular updates to all social service providers. These are available on the MSD website guidance for all social service providers

Other agencies that are funding and providing social services include the Ministry of Social Development, the Department of Corrections, the Accident Compensation Commission, Te Puni Kokiri and the Ministries of Justice, Health and Education.