Community social services get $25m boost

  • Paula Bennett
Social Development and Employment Budget 2011

Community social services will get a $25 million boost from the Government’s Community Response Fund, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says.

“We recognise grassroots social services are carrying a heavy workload and this funding will go a long way to relieving that pressure,” she says.

The Community Response Fund (CRF) was established in May 2009 to help local social services deal with increased demand as a result of the recession.

“Following the latest funding round in which payments totalling $13.9 million will be made to 339 providers, $55 million will have been paid out to more than 694 organisations through the CRF since it was set up,” Ms Bennett says.

After the Canterbury earthquake last September, a special round of the CRF was set up for Christchurch social service providers, with $4.9 million having been given to more than 290 providers so far. This includes more than $785,000 awarded to more than 50 providers after the 22 February earthquake.

More than $2.1 million has been paid to 11 providers for counselling. 

“We listened to concerns that the fund was due to finish. The effects of the recession were still being felt, so we’re putting more funding in for 2011/12,” Ms Bennett says.

The fund previously encouraged social service organisations to think laterally when dealing with social issues, with innovative ideas considered by local Community Response Forums.

“There will be three funding rounds throughout the 2011/12 year, with about $8 million available for each round,” Ms Bennett says. 

“This funding is a further acknowledgement of the vital role social service providers play and confirm that this Government is backing them.”