Over the last few years there has been a big drive for social service agencies to work more closely together. The Government, which funds to a large extent most community agencies through contracts with us, is concerned that there is a lot of overlap, and at times duplication of services. So we have been encouraged to work more closely with other social service agencies. To me this makes perfect sense. We all have our skills and areas of expertise, and it is better to recognize this and develop our areas of expertise, rather than to try to become all things to all people. So for this reason we have been working closely with a number of groups over the past few years.
Our most important collaboration has been with St Vincent de Paul Society. We run our Budget Service (now called Financial mentoring) from the Vinnies office two days a week. We have been doing this for almost four years now, and I think this is a mutually beneficial relationship. we are able to provide services for people who are unable to get out to our offices, and they can refer to people who pop into their offices in need. The Vinnies also support us through provision of school lunches for families we support, furnishings for families who have none, and just generally support us with the various requests we make from time to time. It is great having the support of our fellow Catholic organization.
We also are developing a closer relationship with Anglican Action. We have worked very closely with them in Tauranga Moana, scoping out the Re-integration project which they have a contract for. We also run Money management groups with some of the clients of Anglican Action, and are investigation how we can provide ongoing support to women and children from their Kids First Centre.
Our relationship with Corrections Dept. has also developed through our Budgeting service. We take referrals from Probation officers, and also run cooking and Money Management groups with their clients on a monthly basis. We received a Community partnership award from Corrections last year for the work we did -as they said-going above and beyond what they would expect from a community agency.
We also are members of the Hamilton children’s team, with one of our staff being a Lead Professional. This means that we are an integral part of the range of services in our community aimed at keeping children safe, and strengthening families.
I am very excited that we are able to collaborate in such ways with these groups, as it fits very well with our charism ” to be the face of Jesus for people who are alone in their place of need”.