Garage sale for Te Ara Korowai - Kapiti mental health service fundraising after contract loss

The Te Ara Korowai building in Raumati.

The Te Ara Korowai building in Raumati.

A Kapiti health provider's annual garage sale has taken on more importance with the loss of a government contract, leaving it $50,000 short of their operating costs for next year.

Te Ara Korowai, based in Raumati, north of Wellington, helped run the Peer-Led Advocacy Service, providing support for patients in Kapiti and Porirua with mental health and addiction problems.

As well as losing ​the Capital & Coast District Health Board contract, which was reallocated after it expired, they have been turned down for a lottery grant.

Te Ara Korowai uses art and other creative pursuits as part of their peer support services.

Te Ara Korowai uses art and other creative pursuits as part of their peer support services.

Manager Lisa Archibald said she was not thinking of closure, and the centre was seeking other funding through grants and fundraising efforts such as their garage sale.

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"We've had to change, rethink and restructure. These community NGOs are living on a wing and a prayer." 

Te Ara Korowai staff Kamila Gay, Lisa Archibald, Daniel Panter and Kathy Lyall.

Te Ara Korowai staff Kamila Gay, Lisa Archibald, Daniel Panter and Kathy Lyall.

Te Ara Korowai's opening hours will be cut due to the changes. They will now  be open from 9:30am-1pm, Monday-Thursday.  

One staff member's hours have been reduced from fulltime to 10 a week, while another has been employed by mental health provider Mind and Body. 

Its advocacy services will be chopped altogether, concentrating instead on peer support and creative workshops, when it reopens after its winter break later this month. 

Archibald said staff wanted Te Ara Korowai to be "the ambulance at the top of the cliff"'. 

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"We want to be preventative, and the health board is not good at that. 

"The people who are socially anxious, the clinician won't help them, but if they aren't helped the problem can escalate past the point where we can help them." 

Vincents Art Workshop and Newtown Union Health Service, both based in Wellington, ran the service alongside Te Ara Korowai.

Both have had a redundancy, but their opening hours have not been affected.

Mind and Body Consultants took over the three-year contract from July 1. They have mobile staff in Wellington, Porirua and Kapiti who will visit clients in their communities. 

General manager Gordon Attwood said all staff had completed training, existing clients had been catered for and awareness-raising for new clients was under way. 

"Mind and Body has built up a strong reputation over the last 19 years for both developing training and peer support, and also for providing peer support services within New Zealand." 

3DHB mental health and addiction services planning and funding manager Arawhetu Gray said they looked to provide "a more comprehensive peer consumer advocacy service to better meet our communities' changing needs". 

The service's funding had risen to $305,010 annually, up from $297,000, she said. 

Earlier this year figures from both Hutt Valley and Capital & Coast DHBs revealed a change in funding methods, which saw both receive less government money targeted for mental health.

* Te Ara Korowai's annual garage sale will be held in early August. Items sold will include children's clothing, toys and books, but a date has not been confirmed. 

 - Stuff

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