Countless support services will be forced to close their doors over the next few months after the Government’s refusal to reinstate funding, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.
The Community Response Fund was set up in 2009 to help key support agencies address cost and demand pressures through the recession. In 2011 it was extended for another year.
“Paula Bennett has now decided that those organisations no longer require support, with no new funding in this month’s budget.
“The need for these services has not suddenly disappeared. Many are reporting demand is at an all-time high.
“These are core social services – Ms Bennett herself describes them as ‘critical’.
“One, the Rainbow Umbrella Charitable Trust, provides after school programmes for children and young people with disabilities. It will close its doors today, leaving up to 35 disabled children without specialised care.
“Age Concern, which provides professional help each year to 1500 older people who are abused physically, emotionally or financially, will lose services in Kaitaia, Rodney, Rotorua, Wairoa and Marlborough due to the Community Response Fund coming to an end.
“And victims of sexual violence are facing longer waiting times for support from HELP and Wellington Rape Crisis, because of the cutbacks.
“There are more than 290 organisations in a similar position.
“Ms Bennett cannot continue to claim victory for these services when so many of them will close their doors under her watch.
“It’s time she either explained to the community that they’re no longer needed, or steps in to help.”