You can find the community support hub, EmpowermentNZ, on Jocelyn Street in Te Puke. This organisation has recently been selected for its second year of funding by the Acorn Foundation Distributions Committee, which has been impressed by the breadth of services that are provided at their hub: Hapai Mama (Kaupapa Maori antenatal and postnatal support); Tauranga Budget Advisory; Whaiaoranga Trust (counselling); INOK (It’s Not OK campaign); Legacy Women’s support; Grandparents Raising Grandchildren support; Social Work community support and advocacy; and the town’s foodbank.
Deborah Nicol is the Social Work Manager at EmpowermentNZ and works with a fantastic staff and trust, supported by many active volunteers.
According to Deborah, “There is something incredibly rewarding about facilitating an empowering experience for anyone who is vulnerable and watching the course of empowerment actually happen in front of you.”
Client Story (maybe in a separate box, might need to be shortened)
Their former client, Tracey*, is a perfect example of the kind of wrap-around services that EmpowermentNZ provides on a regular basis. Tracey and her two young daughters fled to Te Puke to escape a serious domestic violence situation in another region. She was grieving the recent loss of her father, and they had nothing to keep them going but their car, a small backpack with personal items, and a few blankets. Tracey was passing by the community support hub when she saw the foodbank sign and went in for help. She met with Georgie Faye, the onsite community support social worker, who was able to provide a safe and comfortable environment, as well as the tangible crisis-centred support for which EmpowermentNZ is so well-known.
Clients in crisis are in fight, flight or freeze mode, which means that the specific help provided to Tracey at the hub (food, clothing for her daughters, specialised domestic violence support, budget advice, and counselling) was critical to enable her to move forward in her new life. With support from EmpowermentNZ through collaborative partnerships in the community, Tracey and her children have been housed, with furniture, firewood and winter essentials all sourced. She became a frequent volunteer at the hub, which led to a full-time position as an office manager in a local business. Tracey has been an inspiration to the team at EmpowementNZ and a success story that represents so many of the clients they serve and support.
The 2018 grant for Te Puke’s community hub was provided by the Tindall Foundation and the B Sutherland, P & C Peat, and D & L Caird funds.
*name changed to protect privacy