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Flood Recovery Hub to continue to provide support for the community

23 Sep 2022

The Community Hub in Westport and the Navigator support program are set to continue until the end of January 2023.

The hub and navigator programme were initially set up after the July 2021 flood to support flood-affected people and help put them in touch with the right agencies and organisations.

Social Recovery Manager Stephanie Newburry for Buller Flood Recovery says as people have resolved their flood issues or continue to work through different support agencies, demand for support from the Hub and Navigators has slowly reduced over time. This resulted in a reduction in the numbers of Navigators in March 2022 and now a new model of service will be implemented from 1 October 2022.

“We will continue to offer the Community Hub as a safe and welcoming place to flood-affected people while changing the focus of the navigator roles (that are currently client based only), to include community connection, social events and hub management.

“The needs of our flood-impacted community have changed, and we are now adapting to those needs,” says Mrs Newburry.

The Community Hub and Navigators will continue to operate out of the same premises at 175 Palmerston Street, Westport until 31 January next year. Homebuilders West Coast will take over the management contract from Poutini Waiora, supported by four FTE navigators from two other non-governmental organisations (NGO)s – Buller REAP and Te Ha O Kawatiri.

“We want to take this opportunity to thank Poutini Waiora, Te Tai o Poutini’s Māori Health and Social Service provider, for delivering the navigator service up until now.

“They used the Whānau Ora model – a kaupapa Māori approach – to improve not only the wellbeing of the people seeking help but those working in the recovery space. This holistic approach has been instrumental in providing an amazing level of support,” says Mrs Newburry.

“We also want to acknowledge that although demand has reduced for our services, the support is still there. We know that there are still people negotiating insurance issues, financial or accommodation insecurities and the anxiety and stress that comes with being involved in natural disasters.

“The psychological impacts can be felt many years after the event, and while some have returned to their homes, others are yet to start their rebuild or find suitable accommodation. It’s important to acknowledge where you might be in this journey and seek support where needed. The hub is here to help.”

Snapshot of demand to date:

  • Between 300-400 people were visiting the Community Hub per month in the months that followed the July 2021 flood event.
  • At its peak, the navigator service was supporting 153 households

As the community recovers from the event, we are seeing a reduction in those numbers

  • Around 62 Households are now supported by the Navigator programme
  • Around 150 visits per month to the Community Hub.
  • At the beginning, the navigator programme employed 12 people from different NGO’s (Homebuilders West Coast, Buller REAP, #37 Community House, Poutini Waiora, and Te Ha O Kawatiri).

Contact: Social Recovery Manager, Stephanie Newburry