A Community Services Covid-19 Response group set up in Katikati over a week ago to respond to the needs of the community during the nationwide lockdown has swung into action and is achieving results.
Led by Katikati Community Centre manager Allan Wainwright, the group is made up of community service organisations collectively working together to coordinate a response to support the needs of the most vulnerable. Katikati's population has a high percentage of elderly folk and many live alone.
At the first Zoom meeting people discussed what the immediate needs were with the community being in lockdown, for instance those over 70 being most at risk of coronavirus, unable to go out.
Community service providers - Katikati Medical Centre, Katikati Red Cross, Katch Katikati, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tamawhariua, Reachout Trust, Katikati Christian Foodbank, Lions Club of Katikati, Oranga Tamariki Ministry for Children, Budget Advisory Service, Katikati Maori Wardens, SuperGrans, Katikati Taiao and the Katikati Advertiser are among them - on average 25 people are represented on the Covid-19 group.
"There are 45 organisations subscribed to our weekly newsletter which acts as one collective source of information," Allan Wainwright said.
"Our biggest achievement so far has been sourcing volunteers to form a group to assist Red Cross to deliver Meals on Wheels to local clients, since the volunteers who were doing the job were at risk due to their age."
Kate Williams volunteered to coordinate the Meals on Wheels service in the meantime, which is run by Radius Lexham Park in Katikati.
Katch Katikati's Jacqui Knight said the group is going particularly well.
"It's been a good example of the community coming together and we get that feedback from the district health board and Tauranga-based agencies saying they are not aware of this sort of community and collaboration getting off the ground so quickly.
"It's positive and reflective of the Katikati community," she said.
Another initiative to come out of the group is a shopping support service. The Katikati Community Centre is taking requests from people needing shopping assistance and who don't have any means of support.
"We have a shopper who pays for the goods using the Katch Katikati eftpos card. A member of Red Cross delivers the shopping and takes our eftpos machine to the shopper to pay back Katch Katikati.
"Many can't use Paywave or pay any other way," Knight said.
People need to register with the Katikati Community Centre. The person registering for the service must not have any other support networks available to get their groceries.
If that's the case then they must meet one of the following criteria - be over 70, a solo parent or have a disability or medical reason which restricts them being able to get their groceries. The community centre will take the calls and conduct the screening.
The group's online newsletter is also intended to share positive stories resulting from the efforts of community supporting each other during this time of crisis. Distribution will be a minimum of once a week, since the situation is evolving on a daily basis.
The Covid-19 group has regular Zoom meetings to get updates in the community to see where help is needed and the best and safest way to respond.