At its monthly meeting on June 24 Tararua District Council's district resilience manager Steve Dunn presented an outline of the activity, processes and outcomes achieved during the activation of the Tararua District Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) during the drought and Covid-19 level 4 lockdown, with a focus on welfare aspects.

This centre was activated on March 25 with the instruction to establish systems and processes to collate requests and action any support needed. This included co-ordinating the need for food supplies, temporary accommodation, household items and clothing, and grocery assistance.

Councillor Sharon Wards was asked to lead the operations of the welfare team as welfare manager.

During the three months of its operation (it ended May 1) the 47 staff involved ensured over 30 agencies and organisations were supported, advised and communicated with.

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A key role was co-ordinating the work of already existing welfare agencies under one umbrella using a Caring For Communities framework. This brought together such agencies as the Safe Communities Forum, the Strengthening Families Network and the Tararua Health and Wellbeing Governance group.

Key achievements were the support of seven foodbanks, over 200 calls for assistance were acted upon, 34,000 items of personal protective equipment (PPE) were supplied, over 100 grocery shops were made for the elderly and food banks and 45 media releases were sent out.

At the end of the presentation Steve Dunn, Sharon Wards and events and administration assistant Mercedes Waitere-McCallum were acknowledged and thanked by the councillors for their excellent focus on the welfare aspects.

The councillors also passed resolutions to ensure that this excellent network of agencies was continued providing resources and training as well as promoting the sharing of information, collaboration and networking.