Centre to cut jobs

LAIRD HARPER
Last updated 05:00 24/07/2013

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An anti-sexual violence organisation is cutting costs and reducing staff in an effort to stay afloat.

The Taranaki Safer Family Centre has announced it has cut two part-time counsellors as it looks to become "lean and mean".

Trust chairman Gordon Brown said it was never an easy choice to cut jobs but it was one that had to be made in order to stay around for years to come.

"The funding climate is difficult, to say the least," he said.

"What worked 20 to 30 years ago as a model no longer works."

Mr Brown said they were "quietly confident" that by cutting overheads, including looking for a new base of operations, and enlisting the help of a Wellington-based provider they could still offer a key service to the region.

He said as part of the restructure they would also be hiring a psychologist to help with their evolving workload.

"We just have to be lean and mean, and that's just the way things are in 2013," Mr Brown said.

"It's about working differently."

Late last year, Hawera's HRC Family Counselling Services cut staff and services, which put pressure on groups like the Safer Family Centre which is now being asked to do far more with far less.

"Sadly, that's been adding to the pressure because we've just had to do it without any extra funding," he said.

"Sexual abuse in Taranaki is a shameful secret that doesn't get much publicity and the statistics are all going up, which means our counsellors are busier than ever.

"But sadly that has come at a time when funding is shrinking and our model just doesn't work."

Meanwhile, HRC Family Counselling Services is slowly clawing its way back from the brink after a series of devastating funding cuts.

Board chairwoman Te Aroha Hohaia said their main challenges had been using the resources available to deliver the services agreed to while repaying outstanding accounts.

"Our focus now is to rebuild."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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