Band of agencies to fill gap left by HRC closure

By Erika Venter

The withdrawal of HRC Family Counselling Services from Stratford at the end of last year due to financial cuts has not left the Stratford community without resources.

There are several other organisations and counsellors available locally working with those experiencing family violence, says Sherry Lee, manager of the Stratford Community House, in response to articles at the end of last year on the closure of the facility.

"The HRC were only in Stratford Community House for three months last year for a trial period. HRC provided social resources to people caught in domestic violence. We have a band of agencies here we can use to fill the gap."

She adds that "the beauty" of the community house is that they have a host of organisations working under one roof.

"We have an abundance of other agencies with huge network knowledge able to support families and people in various situations, such as social workers, councilors, support workers, family violence experts and people working with the sexually abused.

"We are fortunate to have in Stratford such a variety of professionals that will turn themselves inside out to help meet the needs."

The organisations based at the community house on 52 Juliet Street or working part-time from the facility include Hawera Budget Advice, Safer Centre, Supporting Families and Whanau with Mental Illness, the Anglican Church, Familyworx, Stratford Genealogy, psychological councilors Sias Hoffman and Karen Anderson, Taranaki Community Law, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Barnardos, Problem Gambling Foundation, Access Home Health, Stratford Stroke Group, Alzheimers New Zealand, Stratford Community Foodbank and Relationship Services (Hawera).

The facility is open Monday to Friday 9am-1pm.

Sherry invites organisations and support groups not yet within the house which would want office space, or regular or occasional interview rooms, to contact her.

Meanwhile, the Central Taranaki Community Safe Trust together with Tutaki Youth Inc are investigating the possibility of establishing a family violence co-ordinator in Stratford. "One of the Trust's objectives for 2013 is to help prevent family violence," says Safe Trust chairman Danny Bates. "We have so many people here having to deal with family violence. It is a much needed service."

- Stratford Press

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