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Community Forums making progress - Bennett

Community Forums making progress

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has received the first substantive report back on progress from Community Response Model Forums.

"I established these Forums around New Zealand with local people because I believe people know their own communities best and can make good decisions about where social service funding is most needed."

The fourteen Forums have been established across New Zealand to engage with communities on what services work and what supports are missing.

"I've received fourteen reports which show the Forums have achieved a lot in one year of operation, and I welcome that feedback," says Ms Bennett.

"This is pretty revolutionary for Government as it means devolving power from the Beehive, down to real New Zealanders in their own communities."

"I've been impressed with the commitment and passion of Forum members who've really engaged with their communities."

Common themes identified by the Forums include linking communities up so they work together and making services easier to access for families and encouraging providers to collaborate.

Easy access to services is often an issue and Forums report this works best when support services operating in communities network with each other.

Better joint planning and funding of services that flexible enough to adapt to changing community needs is another key theme in all the reports.

"Several of the Forum progress reports incorporate proposals to develop mechanisms to better connect families to services and I have approved funding to test out some of these ideas," says Ms Bennett.

"Establishing community hubs, building off what already exists (such as community houses, health centres or schools) is another positive idea which we will investigate."

The summary of the community progress reports will be posted on: http://www.communityresponse.org.nz

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