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Local Solutions To Local Problems Get Govt OK

Local Solutions To Local Problems Get Government OK

Three pilot projects that aim to improve the lives of children and families in Awarua, Hokianga and Whakatane have been now approved, Social Services Minister Steve Maharey said today.

The plans include two community youth centres and improved access to youth services. The projects in Awarua, Hokianga and Whakatane are three of the seven Stronger Communities Action Fund (SCAF) pilots, a new Government-led initiative. The SCAF pilot scheme is a new model of decision making that empowers communities to come up with local solutions to local problems and enhance the relationship between the community and government.

Steve Maharey said the Government believes in giving local communities the power to make decisions about how social problems should be tackled, and backing those the decision makers with string public services and the resources to turn their vision into reality.

“It is crucial that we get communities involved in making their own decisions. A key result from the SCAF pilots should be better outcomes for children, young people and their families, because decisions will be made by those who they affect.

“As the first part of the pilot Whakatane, Awarua and Hokianga have undertaken a full process of community consultation and have identified a range of plans that will contribute to the well being of children, young people and families in their community. Approval of these plans means the second stage, of carrying out the projects, can now get underway.

“The commitment and responsibility shown within the pilot communities to improve the lives of families and children is impressive. It will be exciting to see the changes in these communities as this funding is utilised to empower the community.

“The other SCAF pilot sites are Glen Innes, Mangakino, Porirua and Ranui. These sites are currently carrying out a process of consultation around the plans for their communities and the ongoing management of the funds. All sites expect to complete this phase shortly.

“The seven pilot sites were chosen based on community’s social needs, the presence of a solid organisation to manage the funds on behalf of the community and our preference to trial SCAF in a range of environments including, Maori, Pacific, urban and rural communities.

“Evaluators contracted by the fund manager and Child, Youth and Family will assess each pilot’s implementation and its benefits to the community,” Steve Maharey said.

Information about the Awarua, Hokianga and Whakatane SCAF plans follow:

Whakatane

The fund manager for the Whakatane pilot site is Ngati Awa Social and Heath. The pilot will receive $270,000 for its first year as part of SCAF.

The approved plan aims to improve the delivery of core services to young people in Whakatane by providing a centre for youth services and improved rural access to social services.

Awarua

The fund manager for the Awarua pilot site is He Oranga Pounamu – Ngai Tahu. The site will receive $190,00 for its first year as part of SCAF.

The first stage of the Awarua plan is to develop a community profile and undertake a community needs analysis. The aim is to improve outcomes for young people in a range of areas, including substance abuse and related health and social issues, sexual and physical abuse of women and children, high benefit dependency and low educational achievement.

Hokianga

The fund manager for the Hokianga pilot site is Te Runanga a Iwi o Ngapuhi. The site will receive $165,000 for its first year as part of SCAF.

The goal of the community is to create a centre where recreation, learning, cultural development, social services and sports activity will come together. Social services in particular will be fostered by the SCAF funds.

Ends

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