Taskforce Green boss pleased scheme staying

Taskforce Green co-ordinator Alex Griffin (far right) is retiring for the second time from the role this year. His replacement Shayne Perkins stands beside him, ready to take over. In the background are former Taskforce Green and current Flexiworks workers (from left) Hamish Cuthbertson, Nicholas Daintith, Russell McLaren and Mark McKeay. Photo by Dan Hutchinson.
Taskforce Green co-ordinator Alex Griffin (far right) is retiring for the second time from the role this year. His replacement Shayne Perkins stands beside him, ready to take over. In the background are former Taskforce Green and current Flexiworks workers (from left) Hamish Cuthbertson, Nicholas Daintith, Russell McLaren and Mark McKeay. Photo by Dan Hutchinson.

Retiring Dunedin City Council Taskforce Green co-ordinator Alex Griffin is concerned some unemployed people are still being ''left on their own''.

About 30 long-term community workers lost their Government transport subsidy of $21 a week recently and Mr Griffin has put his retirement on hold since March, until the future of the programme was cleared up.

''We weren't too sure where the scheme was going and so the council had to be a wee bit wary if they were going to replace me.''

Shayne Perkins has now been employed to take over the co-ordinator role and the council confirmed the scheme was still a good fit with its community wellbeing strategy.

Community Development Team Leader Rebecca Williams said those who lost their Government subsidy were no longer eligible for it because it was supposed to last for only six months.

Now, when workers were no longer eligible for the Taskforce Green subsidy, they could still continue to take part in community work on a voluntary basis.

She said Mr Griffin was ''very passionate'' about what he did and always put his workers first in everything. He was being honoured with a farewell function today.

The council's Taskforce Green was not identical to the Government's Taskforce Green scheme but it did administer projects that met the Government's funding criteria and its workers came via Work and Income.

Mr Griffin said the social aspect of the work scheme was the ''big issue'' for him and he felt the Government was not looking after a lot of people who needed an opportunity to work.

''I just feel there is a lot of people left out on their own today and it really upsets me ...

"They would rather be on our scheme than walking the streets,'' Mr Griffin said.

He said it was good that his workers were still able to work, and be contributing to the various beautification projects around the city.

 

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