Supergrans to close after 17 years

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 12:17 24/05/2013
Sue Yorke
CLOSING TIME: Supergrans Christchurch manager Sue Yorke says the decision to close was made "with a great deal of careful reflection".

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A Christchurch trust has decided to close after 17 years of providing in-home mentoring to hundreds of people.

The board of the Home Made Partnership Trust decided last month to wind up Supergrans on July 1 because of a change in need after the city's earthquakes.

Supergrans was established in in 1996 in Aranui's Hampshire St, offering budgeting advice, cooking lessons and other basic life-skills training.

In a statement on the group's website, board chairman Julian Jensen and Supergrans Christchurch manager Sue Yorke said the decision to close was made "with a great deal of careful reflection".

"The social environment in post-earthquake Christchurch, following on the heels of a recession, has changed the mix of services sought by individuals and families, with little demand for in-home services and a significant shift in demand to budgeting advice," they said.

"People are experiencing great financial and personal hardship with increasingly complex circumstances."

They said Supergrans was "a victim of our own success" because it had successfully responded to the community's needs and was financially viable.

"Our dedicated staff team and amazing pool of volunteers have set up hubs and over-delivered on our key contract, but with high-level budget advice now representing 85 per cent of all our work, there has been a seismic shift away from our core vision, mission and values."

They said the Ministry of Social Development had provided Supergrans with 67 per cent of its revenue, but its expectations had not matched the organisation's values.

"The Supergrans way of supporting people requires time to build a relationship and trust, and the move to working with more people for shorter periods of time isn't conducive to helping people make substantive changes in their lives."

The demand for non-budget help had also been steadily shrinking, they said.

"Supergrans Christchurch ... [is] passionately committed to the view that long-term one-to-one in the home mentoring brings about effective change and that there is still a need for such programmes, but our clients are not asking for us to provide these services."

The organisation would remain open and accessible to its clients until July 1, they said.

Staff and volunteer positions had been disestablished and Supergrans' assets would be distributed to like-minded charities, they said.

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Last month, Supergrans' founding Lower Hutt branch announced it would close after 20 years of providing mentoring to struggling families and individuals.

The branch cited an unprecedented lack of grant funding for the decision.

- The Press

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