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Community Urged to Pressure Govt On Lack of Funds

MEDIA RELEASE FROM CCS DISABILITY ACTION

Thursday 18 September 2008

CCS Disability Action Urges Community to Pressure Government Over Lack of Funding

CCS Disability Action is urging people to come forward and tell their stories as it faces the real possibility of withdrawing core services from parts of Canterbury and the West Coast regions.

Reduced funds from trusts, grants and sponsorship means that CCS Disability Action Canterbury West Coast has to reevaluate its services in rural areas such as Westport, Greymouth, Hokitika, Rangiora, Ashburton and Kaikoura as well as Christchurch City services and programmes.

CCS Disability Action Regional Manager David Matthews says that local support services throughout the Canterbury and West Coast regions are essential for disabled people wanting to get on with living their lives.

“We’ve always run our services to disabled people in an effective and efficient way but for many years there’s been a funding deficit between what the services cost and what support we get from the Government,” says David.

“In the past we were fortunate to find funds to plug these gaps in the good faith that the Government would swoop in eventually and ease the burden on us but that’s not been the case.”

For many years CCS Disability Action (formerly the New Zealand Crippled Children Society and CCS) has delivered regular services to over 6,000 people with disabilities, making them one of the largest disability support service providers in New Zealand.

While many other services have withdrawn local support CCS Disability Action aimed to reverse this trend by having a local presence in most areas of New Zealand.

This funding set back is likely to change that and David knows the impact it will have on families.

“We’ve always aimed to assist all people who face barriers on the basis of disability. We get to know families, and support and advocate alongside them within the disability support and health systems and early childhood and school settings so they can have the life for their child and themselves that they want.”

“We are a careful and diligent not for profit organisation and having had an honest look at the books we’ve come to the conclusion that the size of the deficit is unsustainable. We’ve had enough of trying to cover up the shortfall in funds for what many disabled people see as core services,”explains David

CCS Disability Action predicts that removing staff from some of its area branches would have a profound effect in the communities they serve.

“If we take out our person in Rangiora that’s approximately 100 families worse off and there’s no replacement service or organisation once we’re gone. That’s very alarming to me,” adds David.

That sentiment is shared by Justine Kerr, from Oxford.

“CCS Disability Action has been working with me and my 10 year old son for the last 2 years. Having a disabled child places unbelievable pressures on the whole family but CCS Disability Action has been there to advocate and support us,” says Justine.

“CCS Disability Action has supported me in many ways not only by attending meetings with me and professionals but also on a personal level. There has always been someone to listen to me when I was feeling stressed and at my wits end.”

“They gave me the confidence that I was doing a good job as a parent not only with my disabled son but with my other children as well.”

“Without CCS Disability Action’s support I feel my family would have fallen apart leaving my son in residential care and myself feeling as though I had failed him,” adds Justine.

David Matthews hopes that more stories like Justine’s can highlight the urgent funding need for core services that disabled people and their families rely on.

“What we need now is for more people in these communities to come forward and tell their stories of how these essential services make a real difference to their lives. We need them, their families and their friends to put pressure on the Government to find the funding for these core services. We have been trying for nine years now to get this issue sorted – our patience is wearing thin,”finishes David.

ENDS

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