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$27 Million For NGOs And Community Groups To Continue Providing Essential Services

A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced.

“At COVID-19 Alert Level 4, a range of social services provided by our Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and community groups remain open and continue to deliver an essential service.

“They are supporting New Zealanders to stay well during our fight to break the chain of transmission of the virus, which will save lives.

The package supports services that:

· Ensure people have access to the food and other goods they need to survive

· Provide a place for people to live

· Support disabled people to maintain critical wellbeing

· Keep families safe from harm and offer crisis support

“Self-isolation can also mean the risk of family violence increases. That’s why we are making sure family violence and sexual violence services will remain available for those in need.

“As has been the case in countries around the world battling the global pandemic, there have been significant increases in the demand for these essential social sector services.

“Social sector partners of MSD are already reporting impacts on their essential services.

“In addition to increased demand, many organisations have changed the way they work to adhere to the Government guidance on moving to an Alert Level 4.

“We are also working with these services to ensure that maximum hygiene protocols are in place for essential workers,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

To ensure that essential services continue throughout Alert Level 4, immediate action will be taken to provide:

· Up to $16 million to bolster existing essential social sector services delivered by NGOs so they can continue to support individuals, families, whānau and communities at risk through uncertain circumstances and respond to increased demand

· Up to $6 million funding for disability Community Participation providers to put in place appropriate health mitigations for the current group orientated services and provide support for disabled people in lock-down

· Up to $4.8 million to provide community grants or fund innovative community-led solutions to support local resilience

You can access specific advice for people experiencing family violence at https://covid19.govt.nz/help-and-advice/for-everyone/family-violence-and-sexual-violence-prevention/

You can visit https://covid.govt.nz for detailed information about alert levels, health issues, self-isolation and assistance available, and for public health resources.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or need to self-isolate, contact the Healthline team (for free) on 0800 358 5453 or +64 9 358 5453 for international SIMS. You can also call your GP if you are feeling unwell and are unsure if you have COVID-19 symptoms.

NOTE: A list of Non-Government Organisations and community groups that qualify as essential will be made available in the next day or two.

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