Groups meet to consider Hub's future

Groups affected by the potential loss of the South Dunedin Early Years Hub were feeling ``hopeful rather than positive'' after a meeting to discuss the possible future of the centre yesterday.

The hub, which is operated by the Methodist Mission, is facing uncertainty because of Whanau Ora's decision not to renew its annual funding contract with the centre.

Since the hub was set up at the former Forbury School site in 2012, the bulk of its funding - upwards of 82% - has been provided by the Ministry of Social Development and then, for the past few years, by Whanau Ora, through its South Island commissioning agency, Te Putahitanga.

The funding contract for the 2017-18 financial year ending on June 30 was worth $124,000.

The Methodist Mission was told last week of Whanau Ora's decision to end the fixed-term contract, prompting mission director Laura Black to email Hub user groups and invite them to a meeting to discuss what might happen next.

Although the mission had already begun looking for other sources of funding - and there were some other options - Ms Black said in her email that even if all their bids were successful they would not ``add up to anything like the amount required'' to run the Hub as it now existed.

Between 60 and 80 people attended yesterday's meeting at the Hub.

One of those present was Natasha Walker, who runs a support group for Dunedin mothers with post-natal depression.

Mrs Walker thought the meeting was very worthwhile and Ms Black had been ``very upfront'' in the way she discussed the centre's future with everyone.

Continuing its work, with reduced hours, was one possibility mentioned.

``But the biggest difficulty could be finding another venue that won't cost a lot,'' Mrs Walker said.

The Methodist Mission was doing what it could and Ms Black told those at the meeting there would be ``a lot of email contact'' to consider any ideas and proposals people might want to put forward. While she had ``no update on last week'', Ms Black said the mission was working hard to find alternative funding ``so we can be able to continue providing at least some of the services''.

But the outcome would not be known for ``two or three weeks'', she said.


 

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