Magazine article Public Sector

Linwood Community Link - Resiliency in Action

Magazine article Public Sector

Linwood Community Link - Resiliency in Action

Article excerpt

Community Links are part of an approach by the Ministry of Social Development to simplify the way people access support services. Peoples' needs are often complex and wide ranging, and Community Links are designed to be a 'one-stop shop'. Linwood Community Link is a bright, carefully designed hub staffed with enthusiastic and caring people, where clients can access not just Work and Income, but other government and non-government support services.

Since Public Sector last checked in with Linwood Community Link in 2009, Christchurch has been radically changed due to the major earthquakes Canterbury suffered in 2010 and 2011. Roads and houses were damaged and many services have experienced continuous interruption, except services delivered from the Linwood Community Link. The Community Link's unbroken presence in the area under these trying circumstances is no small feat.

The Linwood Community Link building has offered a comfortable, safe space for agencies to work from. At times the Community Link has also provided emergency response services and served as temporary space for agencies displaced from their usual place of business.

As the community is rebuilding, services and information the Linwood Community Link offers on housing and tenancy advice, budgeting, information for families and parenting, work and training opportunities, health, well-being and disability support, and financial assistance are essential.

The earthquakes have given the team at Linwood Community Link some unique challenges to deal with. Denise Jackson, Manager, outlines one of these: "We accommodated some extra community agencies and the Police after the earthquakes. Some of these arrangements were short-term property solutions for these groups, others were excellent partnership opportunities for Linwood Community Link long term."

Jackson notes that ensuring Work and Income employees at the Community Link are fully aware of all the services available for clients is another special challenge.

"The wide range of organisations working out of the Community Link, as well as having to educate new staff, means that it can be a challenge for everyone to have a working knowledge of the full extent of what's on offer. Some of our partner organisations are in the Linwood Community Link at different times throughout the week, depending on how this fits with their operational needs and the needs of the community," she says. …

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