Social services slashed
Anglican Care South Canterbury is cutting social services which benefit hundreds annually - with its foodbank, counselling services and cooking classes to end in October and six staff made redundant.
In 2012 the social services attracted 552 people. The only service that will remain is the Oceans children's loss and grief programme.
Anglican Care South Canterbury (ACSC) divisional committee chairman the Rev Indrea Alexander said the decisions were in response to financial pressures and a changing vision.
"The division's Dee St office is likely to close and only one of the agency's seven part-time staff will be retained," she said.
"ACSC has been offering general counselling across South Canterbury, a Timaru foodbank, a community worker, a senior chef course for older people and cooking classes for young mothers.
"Churches will be encouraged to take over offering some of these services and to tailor them to the specific needs of their rural or urban communities."
In the past calendar year there had been 300 counselling clients, 107 cookery students and 125 foodbank clients.
Community goodwill towards Anglican Care was significant, Ms Alexander said, but financial support was far too low for it to continue in its present form.
In the absence of alternative funding, the agency had been heavily dependent on securing government contracts, and the contracts had shaped what was offered, rather than the agency having the freedom to meet needs identified by staff or churches.
"A change in staff led us to take stock of what we did offer. After our manager Gwenda Kendrew left in February we did a review of our services. We focused on what was unique to us, and that was the Oceans grief programme," Ms Alexander said.
"Many agencies now offer similar services and Anglican Care is confident people will be able to access the support they need. We are proud of the help we have offered and what we have achieved."
A social justice researcher will be employed to identify key social issues in South Canterbury, with a view to establishing a long-term advocacy and education role.
The Anglican Care Trust Board has approved the changes recommended by the ACSC divisional committee.
ACSC began 60 years ago. A wide range of initiatives have been undertaken over the years and in the 1970s Anglican Care was a leader in developing South Canterbury counselling services.
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