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Peoples Centre on road to recovery


Peoples Centre on road to recovery

Green MP and founder of the three Auckland Peoples Centres, Sue Bradford, said she is confident the beleaguered health and advocacy service in Auckland will fully return to business by later this year.

"While I have been devastated by the collapse of this organisation, to which a number of us from the unemployed workers' movement dedicated many years of our lives, I believe the Centre is over the worst now and is on the road to recovery," said Ms Bradford.

A completely new board has been elected and measures have already been put in place to save the Centre, up to its ears in debt nearing $300,000. Free medical and low-cost dental services continue to operate for members of the Centre, which has branches in central Auckland, Mangere and Manurewa.

Ms Bradford, the Green Party Social Services spokesperson, said she is now primarily concerned for the thousands of Peoples Centre users who are temporarily denied essential advocacy and related welfare services.

"The closure of ACC and welfare advocacy services, which have been helping beneficiaries and other low income earners in Auckland since the 1980s, has left a yawning gap which I think other services will be hard pressed to fill.

"Recent events have been a real tragedy not only for members and others in urgent need of welfare assistance, but also for staff who were made redundant because of chronic high level fiscal mismanagement," said Ms Bradford.

"However, I have renewed faith in the Centre's capacity to survive and rebuild after recent membership meetings approved a rescue plan to trade out of debt, and a new Board was elected, determined not to repeat the mistakes of the last year and a half.

"With goodwill and good management, I believe it will only be a matter of time before core advocacy and related services are re-established."

Although Ms Bradford has not held a formal position with the Auckland Peoples Centre since becoming a Member of Parliament, she retains a strong interest in the organisation she helped found in 1990.

ENDS

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