One of our roles is to monitor the enquiries we receive, and provide this information to local government planners so they can better meet the needs of local people.
We also liaise with the Ministry of Social Development to overcome obstacles encountered by beneficiaries, through active participation in the Whangarei Advocates Network. We are partners with Whakaora Kai Taitokerau (Food Rescue Northland) which aims to reduce food waste and increase the amount of free food available. We now have a food exchange table in the foyer of the building.
We share our building with other community support groups. They are Multicultural Whangarei, the Women’s International Newcomers Social Group, Literacy Whangarei, Volunteering Northland, Supporting Families Northland, Dyslexia Plus, Epilepsy Northland and Multiple Sclerosis Whangarei.
As the lead tenant in the building we liaise with all these organisations and the council to ensure our internal costs are kept low. We are grateful to the Whangarei District Council for its decision to cease to charge rent to social service providers in the building.
We are an accredited Fair Trade Work Place and supply our volunteers with Fair Trade coffee, tea and sugar. We recycle all our paper and other office items and ensure other building users understand these processes, including saving organic material for composting.
Our public lounge is used on every night of the week, and the weekend, for regular meetings.
We are a collection point for Women’s Refuge in Whangarei and store donated household goods and clothing until Refuge workers can collect them.
We are on the Local Advisory Committee for NorthTec’s Bachelor of Social Services, and host students on placement for several months of the year. These students learn beneficiary advocacy as well as undergo our general induction training, and have become a welcome addition to our workforce. We also give presentations to NorthTec’s international students during their orientation tour.