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Support for social entrepreneurs raises questions

Media release
For immediate release
March 8, 2001

Minister’s support for “social entrepreneurs” sounds great but raises
serious questions

Social Services Minister Steve Maharey’s bid to secure Budget funding for “social entrepreneurs” sounds great, Relationship Services chief executive Viv Maidaborn says.

But it raises some serious questions about how social services are delivered in communities up and down the country.

Mr Maharey said yesterday he was keen to see funding given to people who made a difference in their communities – people he referred to as “social entrepreneurs”.

Ms Maidaborn says there is a huge amount of entrepreneurialism and innovation among groups that currently provide services in communities. But most of it gets lost in the fight to survive.

“That’s because the services we deliver are only partly funded by the Government. If new Budget money focuses on new service providers there is a serious risk of the community infrastructure falling apart,” she says.

“We are delighted the minister is working to secure more funding for the social services sector. But his initiative raises three questions which need to be answered.”

These are:
- Is the Government going to continue to only partly fund current services being delivered in communities?
- Is the Government going to review its fee-for-service contracting model which doesn’t support community development or innovation?
- Is the Government going to look at how different sectors, such as social services and health, relate to one another as part of its social entrpreneurs initiative?

Ms Maidaborn says the Government needs to develop an overall strategy for developing communities that would cover initiatives such as the proposed social entrepreneurs scheme.

“In our experience the Government has not been willing to fund really innovative ideas that would make a difference in communities. We would therefore welcome a strategy that supported entrepreneurialism among existing and new groups.”

For further information contact:
Viv Maidaborn
Chief Executive
Tel: 04-472 8798
Mobile: 021-646 578
Issued by:
Anna Smith
Communications Advisor
Mobile: 025-768 273

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