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Communities Step Up To Help New Zealanders Stay Connected And Fed During Lockdown

Communities stepping up to help New Zealanders stay at home to break the transmission of COVID-19 and save lives have received Government support, said Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni.

“Delivering groceries for the elderly who can’t shop online, providing data packs for low income families to keep them connected, and being available 24/7 to talk migrants through issues is some of the great work we’ve supported with funding,” Minister Sepuloni said.

A $27 million Government package to immediately assist NGOs and community groups to provide help to those who need it during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown was announced on 26 April – with $9.6 million paid out and more being approved for payment every day.

“Staying home to break the transmission raises a range of issues for our most vulnerable from job loss to domestic violence, to lack of access to medicine, access to food, or just food shortage,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

Some of the funding already paid out includes:

· Over $5 million has been distributed so far to support family and sexual violence sector which will help an estimated 4,800 people with accommodation and helpline services.

· Half a million has been allocated to the MoneyTalks helpline to support an additional 40,000 clients and increase services for existing clients.

· 300 grants totalling more than $1.9 million have been also approved for community groups and individuals across New Zealand to provide local solutions

Minister Sepuloni said the NGO sector has again stepped up to the challenge to support New Zealanders during the lockdown.

“They are a vital part of keeping communities safe and resilient over this time. We are working closely with the sector to ensure they have what they need to continue to carry out this important work and operate safely in this environment.

“Social services from large organisations to smaller community groups are critical to wellbeing and helping people cope through this unprecedented time.

“It’s clear that our smaller community groups, and individuals in the community, are just as committed to easing the impact of COVID-19 on our vulnerable as our larger groups – and they are often well placed to help ensure support flows into the community quickly.

“Some of these groups have galvanised quickly and provided essential and critical items for locals like food parcels, data packs, pre-paid mobiles as well as shopping services, check-in services, and after hours support.

“We are still distributing funds as the situation evolves. But it’s great to see all parts of the community, and all areas of the social sector, play their part in supporting our vulnerable through this time, and in doing so, all of New Zealand,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

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