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      • Collaboration, Coordination and Inspiration
        • 28 Sep 2020
        • St Vincent de Paul Society Wellington
        • <figure class=" sqs-block-image-figure intrinsic " > The past six months have provided opportunities for the Holy Trinity Eastern Suburbs Conference in Wellington, to provide new and existing clients with the assistance they need, when they need it.  It’s also provided real insight into, firstly, the value of collaboration and coordination between Parish, Conference members and Vinnie’s service staff in Newtown; and secondly, how a targeted and specific approach helps inspire members and clients alike. With the on-set of Level 4 lockdown in March 2020, our Conference used our existing client lists, Parish Office referrals of elderly and isolated parishioners, the Vinnies social worker referrals and Conference member knowledge to identify 180 clients to check-in on under lockdown conditions.            We then used 14 members (active members, associates and prospective members) to undertake check-in phone calls and find out whether there was any specific lockdown needs such as food supply, clothing or child/baby needs, bedding, encouragement through the stress of it all, advocacy, or on-going check-up calls. Overall, there was overwhelmingly positive feedback on the outreach from Vinnies which was also seen as representative of being part of a caring Parish.  Many practical needs were identified, such as nine households requiring weekly food parcels which, once referred by us, were delivered by the Vinnies vans from nearby Newtown. These services continued into Alert Levels 3 and 2, sometimes requiring our own Conference members to do deliveries.  As parishioners heard of the initiative through the grapevine and our notices in the online weekly parish newsletters, more food/household items and money were donated directly to help these clients.  Families with children who needed school items and clothing were also identified and, as we progressed to Alert Level 1, it was possible for one of our members to take these families shopping to secure necessary supplies. We have all long known that often the most effective services are those that require coordination to fulfil a range of needs.  These needs also require more than one person or group involved in order to achieve the best outcomes.  Conversely, it is often a lack of coordination that provides the most frustration for those in most need who have multiple needs.  COVID-19 gave us an opportunity to showcase the value of Parish Office staff, priests, parishioners, our Conference members and Vinnies Welfare Centre staff working together – it was inspiring for all involved.

      • New Leadership for St Vincent de Paul Society Wellington
        • 19 Jun 2020
        • St Vincent de Paul Society Wellington
        • <figure class=" sqs-block-image-figure intrinsic " > John Kennedy-Good, President of St Vincent de Paul Society in Wellington, is pleased to announce that Sally Babington has accepted the role of General Manager.    Sally comes to us with a strong background in social services, having worked in both community and Government departments. She has a deep commitment to working with people in times of need in a way that enables hope and dignity.  John Kennedy-Good says, "Sally has a history in statutory social work, as well as funding and contracting with social service providers. She has worked in Special Education leading a team that provides support and services for children with disabilities. In the Justice sector, Sally worked in the prison system and has led a team responsible for designing services to better meet the needs of those using Justice services. Her role at ACC involved leading a large operational team in the ’Serious Injury Service’ in a time when a focus on understanding and meeting client need was required."  "In her community-based roles, Sally has led a team through change in Legal Aid Services, making sure that fairer systems were in place for people not easily able to access a lawyer. She has worked at Barnardos NZ, leading regional teams providing both social work support and early childhood services. Sally also worked at a community-based sex offender treatment programme."  Originally from Christchurch, Sally has lived in Wellington for the past fifteen years. She has a strong focus on seeking to understand what people who use social services really want and need. Sally likes to engage with others to understand and solve problems. She is a strong believer in the collective wisdom of teams. Sally and her husband Allan have three adult children and two (soon-to-be three) grandchildren. In her free time, Sally enjoys running in the hills around Eastbourne and getting into the bush for a tramp. Sally will officially begin the role of General Manager of St Vincent de Paul Society Wellington Area from Monday 13th July 2020, after 15 years of service by Manager/ Secretary, John Rossbotham. Please welcome Sally to the St Vincent de Paul Society Wellington team.

      • Small Team, Big Impact
        • 2 Apr 2020
        • St Vincent de Paul Society Wellington
        • <a class="image-slide-anchor content-fill" > <a class="image-slide-anchor content-fill" > St Vincent de Paul Society Wellington (Vinnies) has adapted its welfare and support services to provide essential service packs to individuals and families struggling throughout the COVID-19 Level 4 lock-down. “We’re ensuring our community has access to essential items which we hope will help give them some peace of mind over this uncertain time, as well as help free-up any extra cash to go towards additional food and bills” says Manager, John Rossbotham. These packs cover three key needs: food support, baby material support and winter goods such as warm clothing, bedding, heating and cookware. A small team of six key staff, including two delivery drivers are continuing to work from the Newtown Welfare and Service Hub to answer incoming calls and distribute packs. “Often people are simply relieved you have answered their call as they struggle to get through to overwhelmed government support lines” says Communications and Marketing Manager, Millie Lambess. “For many single parents and people living on their own, there is comfort in knowing they aren’t alone and have the support of a service like Vinnies throughout the lock-down.” Alongside this practical support, the Vinnies Community Social Worker is continuing to work closely with on-going cases and Vinnies Members are calling isolated elderly to check-in with them each week. “I am concerned at the impact of social isolation and stress on those already experiencing life challenges, including sole parents, those living alone or struggling with mental health. Once people are assured they have support for basic needs, they are verbalising anxiety around their safety, or their family’s safety. Emotional and psychological support is going to be very important the longer this lock down continues, and ability to provide personal human connection will be a priority” says Community Social Worker, Tania Martin. Since the lock-down began, the Newtown centre has seen a 380% increase in people accessing its services, with the majority in need of food. Bulk orders of food and essential items are being purchased on a weekly basis by the Society with fresh produce continuing to come in from Kaibosh and local restaurants such as Where’s Charlie? who donated fresh produce after they closed. With the closure of the main funding source, Vinnies Op Shops and unable to accept drop-off food donations from the public,St Vincent de Paul Society Wellington is calling on the wider community to consider making a cash donation towards the purchase of food bank supplies. Donations can be made vinnies-wellington.org.nz/donate.

      • Loving Doing A Job That Makes A Difference
        • 10 Feb 2020
        • St Vincent de Paul Society Wellington
        • Article from Mikel News - St Michael’s Kelburn Parish and Community newspaper: Kelburn Op Shop Manager, Narges Hamidi Street View of Vinnies Kelburn Kelburn Op Shop Team You might remember the local personality Narges Hamidi was nominated for Kiwibank Local Hero of the Year. Patricia Thompson goes behind the scenes to get better acquainted with one of Kelburn’s most visible characters. “I wanted to find a job where I could make difference,” says Narges Hamidi, manager of Kelburn’s op shop. “ I have a BA degree from Victoria University, where I majored in development studies, international relations and political science. Through my studies, I had seen both the divide between the developing world and also how much poverty exists here in New Zealand.” Narges took over the helm of the Upland Road store in 2015, the week after it opened - one of nine Society of St Vincent de Paul - or ‘Vinnies’ - stores in central Wellington. “I had worked part-time in Florence boutique in Marsden Village during my studies by this was my first full-time job’” she says. “I love the local community. Our customers really are like a big family. Having originally come to New Zealand as a refugee myself, I feel it is important to make everyone feel welcome. Lots of people stop by here just for a chat and to share what is happening in their lives.” Everything sold at the store is donated with the proceeds going to the services Vinnies provides in the Wellington community. This includes employing a full-time social worker, running a food bank, providing free clothing and bedding packs for mothers and their babies, helping people in need with household items, and visits to elderly people in their homes as well as to nursing homes, hospitals, prisons, the homeless and anyone experiencing loneliness. Vinnies also runs a number of other services, including a rest home and an altar bread business which provides employment to individuals with intellectual disabilities. “If people are in need of our services, then they can contact our social worker directly,” says Narges. “But sometimes people will chat to me in the shop and tell me they are facing difficulties and I’ll give them the social workers card and also give her a call to let her know. “If people need our help, they can pop into any of our nine stores and ask and they will be referred to the right channels for assistance. “ One of the most satisfying parts of the job is when our social worker brings people around our stores to select items for their homes. It may be a family where a parent has lost their job and they have had to move home suddenly and need things like whiteware. Sometimes it is refugee families who may need everything for the home. “ The social worker brings them round to select the items they need, rather than choosing for them. That gives them power and dignity. It is great to see them ‘shopping’ for their home and making choices and leaving with big smiles on their faces.” Narges is currently supported by “eleven lovely volunteers” but more are always welcome and she would like more from the retired community. There are challenges to the job: bags of donated items that are too soiled or damaged to sell, broken down furniture dumped outside the store when it is closed - which the charity has to pay to dispose of. Also the issue of some individuals going through boxes and bags left outside the shop out of hours, leaving items strewn across the pavement. “We have a wonderful neighbour nearby on Upland Road, who has a key and will put things inside and the Four Square are also very good,” says Narges. “The community is so supportive, and we get fantastic donations - but the ideal is to bring donations in during shop hours.” Shop hours are Monday - Friday 9am - 5:30pm and Saturday 9am - 4:30pm. By Patricia Thompson

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