Sustainability at Community Networks and LINK

Our service highlight for October is sustainability, in anticipation of the WAO Summit at the end of this month. Sustainability – meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs – covers many areas, and at Community Networks and LINK, we’re working to enhance food security and support community resilience in the Upper Clutha.

An audit in 2019 found 54% of Queenstown Lakes District kerbside rubbish bins was made up of kitchen and garden waste. We’ve been making changes to improve the efficiency of our current Foodbank system for some time. As part of this, we’re looking into ways to reduce food wastage within the community: we’ve established a food security working group including representatives from Wastebusters, Dr. Compost, Hāwea Food Forest, Grow Wānaka, Food for Love and the Wānaka Vegetable Growers Club to investigate food rescue initiatives; facilitated seed growing workshops for our foodbank clients; and are looking into ways of reducing packaging of dried goods in our Foodbank. If you are interested in joining any of these conversations, please email foodbank@communitynetworks.co.nz.

Over the school holidays, the Wānaka Community Workshop held a workshop with young people from Kahu Youth to build community produce stands. We’re looking forward to these stands going to their new homes at the Wānaka Community Hub and Wānaka Wastebusters in the next few weeks, for the community to leave what they can and take what they need.

Many of us have fruit trees and garden patches growing a glut of produce each year. Whether it’s from your garden or the kitchen cupboard, anything you put into the stands is one less thing going to landfill – and by taking produce home, you are helping us combat food wastage.

You can leave fresh produce such as fruit, veg and herbs – as well as eggs, jams, preserves and baked goods (clearly dated please, with ingredients listed for homemade products). Anyone collecting food from the stands should check the quality and freshness of the food before they eat it; this is the consumer’s responsibility. Keep your eyes peeled on our social media for the official opening!

And finally, an invitation to those who have or want a green thumb to join our crew of gardeners at the Community Hub.  Now in its second season, the LINK Community Gardens at the Hub provides an opportunity for individuals, families and groups who may not have the space, resources or expertise to plant at home. Last year’s gardeners feasted on a huge range of produce and learned lifelong skills from mentors like Dr. Compost and Grow Wānaka volunteers. For more information or to express interest, email kathy@link.org.nz.

Community Networks and LINK, your one-stop community support and connection centre.

Community Networks open as usual under Alert Level 2

From Wednesday, September 8th, Community Networks and LINK – your one-stop community support and connection centre – will be open as usual, 9.00am – 5.00pm, Monday to Friday at the Wānaka Community Hub, 34 McDougall Street.

Remember to maintain a two-metre distance between yourself and others, sign or scan in and wear a mask.

JP appointments (Tuesday afternoons and Friday mornings) and Wheels to Dunstan services will recommence under Alert Level 2 conditions. Spaces will be limited. Call Community Networks on 03 443 7799 or pop into the Hub for more information or to book in.

Social work support is available by emailing our Social Worker at socialworker@communitynetworks.co.nz, or calling 03 443 7799.

The Foodbank is open at the regular times (Monday 1.00pm – 4.00pm, Wednesday, 11.00am – 2.00pm and Friday, 9.00am – 12.00pm).

As a community, we continue to ride the waves of COVID uncertainty, and taking care of yourself is the most important thing. Whether you are struggling with your mental health or looking for ideas about how to feel good during lockdown, there are a range of health and wellbeing resources available.

Te Hau Toka Southern Lakes Wellbeing Group have put together a ‘traffic light’ guide to looking after your wellbeing, available to download from the QLDC wellbeing page and the Southern Health website. It covers tips for what to do in an immediate mental health crisis, when you’re needing extra support, and tips for keeping well. It reminds us of the daily importance of looking after ourselves by connecting with others, keeping active and trying new things, and provides information on free wellbeing apps and online learning.

There’s a host of information about local health and social services online, as well as useful resources on the Mental Health Foundation website and Facebook and All Right website and Facebook.

Nationally, trained counsellors are available to talk to free of charge, 24 hours a day, when you call or text 1737. You can also call Lifeline on 0800 543354 or text HELP to 4357.

And finally, a reminder that vaccination is one of the strongest defences we have against COVID-19, so visit www.bookmyvaccine.nz for details of how to book in. Kia kaha everyone!

An Alert Level 4 update from Community Networks

The following core Community Networks support services will continue to operate under Alert Level 4.

The Foodbank will be open at the regular times (Monday 1:00pm – 4:00pm, Wednesday 11:00am-2:00pm and Friday 9:00am-12:00pm). The Community Hub building is closed, but Community Networks staff will be there to assist you when you arrive. Please maintain a two-metre distance between yourself and others and wear a mask – this is to ensure both your safety and that of our staff. 

The Meals on Wheels service will be operating as usual. 

Social work support is available by emailing the Community Networks Social Worker, Heather Clay, at socialworker@communitynetworks.co.nz, or calling 03 443 7799. 

The Community Networks phone is being monitored and messages will be checked periodically. We’ll provide further details on service changes if required.

In the meantime, remember that it’s perfectly normal to feel anxious or worried at this time – and if you need, trained counsellors are available for you to talk to free of charge, 24 hours a day, when you call or text 1737. You can also call Lifeline on 0800 543354 or text HELP to 4357. Check out this page on the Mental Health Foundation’s website if you’d like some further advice on how to stay mentally well during this time.

And finally, a reminder that vaccination sites will be operating under Alert Level 4 conditions. Vaccination is one of the strongest defences we have against COVID-19, so visit https://bookmyvaccine.covid19.health.nz/ for details of how to book in.

The Community Networks Facebook page will reflect any changes to our services as they happen. Kia kaha everyone!

Support to keep you warm and well this winter

Wānaka winters can be tough for anyone, but there is practical support available to help you keep warm and well. If you’re in need of a little extra help, pop in and see Community Networks at the Wānaka Community Hub. 

Our friendly front desk team can set you up with vouchers, kindly donated by Wastebusters to buy warm clothing and bedding from the Wānaka reuse shop.  

They can also connect you to further support, like financial advisers, Community Networks social worker Heather Clay, or Salvation Army case worker Hannelie Potgieter. Heather can help you consider the bigger picture and find the best way forward, which may include supporting you with an application for the Community Networks Community Support Fund

This fund is there to help individuals and families in the Upper Clutha with the costs of counselling; school uniform or stationery; household costs such as power and medical bills; and one-off costs like fuel and firewood. You can find more information about this on our website, along with other useful resources including a list of counsellors in the Upper Clutha

Hannelie Potgieter is in Wānaka for appointments every Thursday between 11:00am and 3:00pm, and can offer assistance with clothing, linen and furnishings as well as facilitating the Salvation Army’s Positive Lifestyle Programme, which helps participants to deal with depression, anger, grief and stress. 

As always, the Community Networks Foodbank is here if you’re struggling to put food on the table. We’ve been making some changes to the food parcel system over the last few weeks, and there’ll be an update on that coming in our next blog.

Finally, don’t forget that if you’re feeling anxious, down or just a bit overwhelmed, trained counsellors are available for you to talk to free of charge, 24 hours a day, when you call or text 1737

Community Networks and LINK, your one-stop community support and connection centre. 

A midwinter update from the Foodbank

Wanaka winters can be tough for anyone, but there is practical support available to help you keep warm and well. 

The Community Networks Foodbank is here if you’re struggling to put food on the table. We’ve been making some changes to our food parcel system over the last few weeks to help us make it more efficient.

While we know that clients appreciate the flexibility of the New World vouchers we have been providing, we’re finding that grants and donations can no longer cover the cost of them. Therefore, we’re no longer supplying New World vouchers to clients and will instead focus on ensuring the Foodbank is well-stocked with fresh items such as fruit and veg, and meat and dairy products. We’re also training up a team of volunteers to help clients choose and pack their parcels within certain time windows, and we’re looking into the possibility of an online click and collect service.

As of Monday, July 26, the Foodbank is open at the following times only: 

  • Monday: 1pm-4pm
  • Wednesday: 11am-2pm
  • Friday: 9am-12pm.

The front desk team will always be on-hand to provide advice and connect you to support, Monday to Friday, 9:00-5:00pm.

We’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who donated to this year’s New World Family2Family Foodbank Appeal. We were delighted with the numbers of donations we received – we had bags from New World Wanaka and New World Three Parks rolling in by the van load and filling our shelves, ready to give back to the community this winter. In total, we received 550 food bags, which will go such a long way to helping families struggling to make ends meet.

If you’d like to give something back this winter, Ramada Resort Wanaka are collecting clean blankets and good coats to donate to the community this weekend. These will then be donated to Community Networks to distribute to people in need. Please drop your donations to the Ramada before August 1. 

Finally, don’t forget that if you’re feeling anxious, down or just a bit overwhelmed, trained counsellors are available for you to talk to free of charge, 24 hours a day, when you call or text 1737

Community Networks and LINK, your one-stop community support and connection centre. 

Food support for those in need

Community Networks and LINK are the Upper Clutha’s one-stop community support and connection centre. This month, we’re highlighting the food support services available in the local area. 

In our last blog, we focused on Community Networks food parcels, which are there to help when you’re struggling to make ends meet.

Food for Love is a registered charity whose 80+ volunteers have been caring for members of our community in Wānaka, Hāwea, Luggate and Queensbury since 2016 by cooking and delivering meals to those in need.  

Food for Love supplies around 125 free-of-charge meals per week to over 30 nominees, as well as offering school lunches. These nominees can be individuals, couples or families who may be tackling a range of difficulties, including mental or physical illness, family separation, injury, poverty and domestic harm. 

Anyone can be nominated for help via their website and each nomination is treated with privacy and respect. Executive Officer Rebecca (Bex) Sarginson will contact nominees to confirm any dietary requirements and the frequency of need. 

“We have had very positive feedback from the people we have helped and their families over the years and it is rewarding to hear back from our recipients, especially when they are back on their feet,” says Food for Love’s Suzanne Jackson. 

The Salvation Army offers material welfare through their Wānaka Family Store to those who find themselves in hardship, as well as having a financial mentor and social support worker to support vulnerable community members. Community Networks can refer you, or you can get in touch with Hannelie Potgieter on 021 225 9590.

Finally, we’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has donated to the New World Family2Family Foodbank Appeal over the last few weeks. Your contributions have been rolling into Community Networks by the vanload, and every item will go back into our community this winter. The appeal has been extended until July 4th at New World Three Parks, where you could be in to win one of two $250 NW Gift cards if you donate!

For more information, call 443 7799, stop in to see us at the Community Hub at 34 McDougall Street or visit communitynetworks.co.nz.

Community Networks food parcels – here to help

Community Networks and LINK are the Upper Clutha’s one-stop community support and connection centre. This month, we’re highlighting the food support services available in the local area. 

Your local foodbank

Community Networks food parcels are there for anyone struggling to make ends meet by taking some of the pressure off day-to-day living costs for a while. 

Our foodbank is well stocked with staple items, all generously donated by the Wānaka community and local businesses. Many of our recipients become donors in the future, giving back to a service that helped them through a rough patch. 

Pop into the Wānaka Community Hub and speak to our friendly front desk team who will help you pack a food parcel, completely confidentially. They can connect you to further support, like financial advice or a chat with the Community Networks social worker, Heather Clay. Heather can help you consider the bigger picture and find the best way forward.

A lot has changed since Community Networks started providing food parcels in 2010, especially in the last year. Since Covid-19, the need for food parcels has tripled and we’re averaging around 60-70 parcels per month. Our new Food Security Project Manager, Daisy Watford, is working on some exciting projects to minimise food waste in our community and make sure it gets to those who need it most. If you have any ideas, please get in touch.

The New World Family2Family Foodbank Appeal is collecting donations to help local families this winter. Fill up a bag of non-perishable groceries or purchase a pre-packed one to donate to our local foodbank. No donation is too small. 

Look out for our next blog, which will focus on other local food support services.

For more information, call 443 7799 or stop in at the Community Hub at 34 McDougall Street.

Connecting you to free financial advice

If you’re struggling with financial worries, Community Networks can connect you with a friendly financial adviser from Presbyterian Support Otago’s Family Works service or Central Otago Budgeting Services to help you put together a plan with confidential, non-judgemental guidance and support. 

Family Works Financial Mentor Nicole Huddleston covers the Wanaka area and can help you better understand budgeting, debt, financial products, loans and other money topics, reduce any ongoing cycles of debt and work out a financial plan that is right for you.

She explains that understanding your whole situation is key to successful financial planning. By “throwing all the pieces out on the table like a jigsaw puzzle” she can make an assessment and help you put the pieces together.

Budget advisers from Central Otago Budgeting Services cover Wanaka and Cromwell. They can meet you at the Wanaka Community Hub or your home and help you establish a financial safety net to stay on track, pay off debt and reach your future goals faster. COBS can also offer student support including budgeting workshops and help with student loans or setting up bank accounts. 

 

If you need immediate help with day-to-day needs like food, medical bills or counselling costs, the Community Food Bank, Community Support Fund and WellSouth GP vouchers are also there to help. 

Whatever puzzle you’re trying to solve, call 443 7799, stop in at the Community Hub on McDougall Street or visit communitynetworks.co.nz to see what help is available.  

 

Community Networks Wanaka www.communitynetworks.co.nz.

Your one-stop community support and connection centre (Community blog)

It’s been a busy start to the year for Community Networks Wanaka and LINK Upper Clutha as we grow and enhance our one-stop community support and connection centre. Together, we provide information and support; connect and collaborate; and build a resilient community.  

Our team has doubled in size in 2021. Read more here.

You’ll be hearing more from us on what this means over the coming months, as we shine a light on the different services and resources available to you within the local area. 

Struggle got real Pink image with phone number

This month, we’re highlighting the financial advisory services we can connect you with.

Wanaka is a great place to live, but it isn’t always an easy place to live. 

Community Networks Wanaka can help you and your whānau tackle anything life throws at you, including financial worries. Whether you’re worried about getting by, up to your ears in debt, buying a house or just trying to save, we can connect you with free financial advice and support for a whole range of issues. 

From our home at the Wanaka Community Hub, friendly Community Networks staff can put you in touch with IRD to talk about tax, student loans and child support, help you complete application forms to see what Work and Income benefits you might be entitled to, or arrange a chat with our registered social worker, who can talk through your difficulties and connect you with longer-term support.

More on that next week… 

Whatever puzzle you’re trying to solve, call 443 7799, stop in at the Community Hub at 34 McDougall Street or visit communitynetworks.co.nz to see what help is available. 

Community Networks Wanaka www.communitynetworks.co.nz

LINK Upper Clutha www.link.org.nz 

Community Networks and LINK have moved

Community Networks and LINK have moved

 Following the recent move to the new Wanaka Community Hub on McDougall Street, Community Networks now has a lot more space to store contributions to its food bank. It didn’t take long for loyal contributors Rosemary and Günther to wise up to this, and they arrived with boxes of fresh produce almost before the phones had been plugged in.  

The Community Networks team will shortly be gearing up for the annual Harcourts Foodbank Drive, which always sees the good folk of Wānaka and Hāwea donating generously to help ensure everyone is able to celebrate the season, but manager Kate Murray is keen to point out that some families struggle to put food on the table all year round and not just at Christmas. Donations are welcome at any time.

Kate mentions that the move to the fabulous facilities at the new Community Hub doesn’t mean that her team and LINK Upper Clutha are suddenly awash with funding. ‘It’s not common knowledge that we’re only one of the eleven organisations needing to fund expenses such as rent to operate in this building – we haven’t suddenly found a pot of gold. We still need public support for our work in helping those in need.’

 Community Networks and LINK Upper Clutha are open 9 am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, 34 McDougall Street, phone 443 7799.

Article written by David Baker.