Early Years Hub in struggle for funding

Users of the South Dunedin Early Years Hub yesterday (clockwise from left) Sofia Mirielees (1),...
Users of the South Dunedin Early Years Hub (clockwise from left) Sofia Mirielees, Catherine Wilson, Trudy Rapata, Sue Bell, Sara Malcolm and son Ragnar, in May this year. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
The South Dunedin Early Years Hub will continue "in some form" for another year but lack of financial support means a doubtful future after that.

Since Whanau Ora's decision in May not to renew its annual funding contract, Laura Black, director of the Methodist Mission in Dunedin which operates the centre, had been working to find alternative funding.

"We've had a partial result," Ms Black said yesterday. "We've managed to raise almost $60,000 (including $26,000 from the DCC) to take us through to the end of our financial year in June next year, but it's less than half of what we need."

"I feel disappointed about the situation, but The Hub is not dead yet," Ms Black said.

"It's a community service which has been helping people for seven years and it's going to be operating in some form for another year."

A "skeleton" service, restricting weekday hours to between 10am and 4pm, with no evening or Saturday morning services, would cost $85,000 - "So there's a shortfall of $25,000."

"I don't feel at all confident we'll be able to raise the money we need for another year."

Indications from the three organisations who had provided some funding were that the bulk of it was for a year only.

"South Dunedin needs more than one community centre. It's a community of 9500 people and the DCC's South Dunedin community pop-up is not going to be able to meet all of that community's needs."

In Ms Black's 30 years of managing community services, her experience was services working in prevention had always struggled for funding.

Social services were still waiting to see increased support from this Government for prevention services.

"We're hoping the 2019 `Wellness Budget' may address the long-standing funding shortfall for community social services."

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