Volunteers upset over foodbank restructure

Dunedin Salvation Army volunteer Reg Ozanne says he is concerned people will go without food after management decided to reduce foodbank hours. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Dunedin Salvation Army volunteer Reg Ozanne says he is concerned people will go without food after management decided to reduce foodbank hours. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
A group of Dunedin Salvation Army volunteers say they are worried about the future of the foodbank following a restructuring that left seven people from the service without jobs.

Five full-time and two part-time staff were made redundant in an overhaul last week.

Salvation Army southern division community ministry secretary Captain Lindsay Andrews said three of the staff chose to take redundancy.

The restructuring was necessary to ensure the service could remain sustainable following the decision to axe the Anglican Family Care foodbank last month, from which the Salvation Army received funding to provide food parcels, he said.

The cuts meant the hours the Salvation Army foodbank was open would be scaled back from five days a week to three.

Volunteer Tracey McCabe, of Dunedin, said the reduction in foodbank hours disregarded the needs of the very people the service was meant to help.

"People depend on the Salvation Army. People in need can't be hungry on three specific days.''

The foodbank was part of some clients' daily routines, and the consequence would be a breakdown in trust with some of the city's most vulnerable people, Ms McCabe said.

Another volunteer, Reg Ozanne, believed the restructuring had been mishandled.

Mr Ozanne was particularly "disappointed'' Dunedin commanding core officer and director of community ministries Nicola Hargest took two weeks' leave following the announcement of redundancies.

Mr Ozanne had scaled back his volunteer work from "every day'' for two years to four hours a week, while Ms McCabe, a volunteer for four years, said she was contemplating volunteering at another service where she felt "more appreciated''.

Capt Andrews said the restructuring process had
caused "a lot of pain and heartache'' for all involved, including Mrs Hargest. Mrs Hargest had booked her leave "long before'' the decision to make redundancies was made, he said.

"I am really saddened to hear of volunteers leaving, that they have been put through this process because I know a lot of them.''

Capt Andrews said he was concerned volunteers had not been hearing "the right message'' and workplace support would be offered the volunteers.

Overnight and emergency food parcels would be available outside of operational foodbank hours, and the addiction treatment, family store and community ministries would remain the same, he said.

"This process has caused a great deal of pain and stress but our mission to provide service for the Dunedin community remains the same.''

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