Te Ara Korowai Wellbeing Centre has seen a dramatic increase in people throughout Kāpiti accessing their services in the past few months – almost double the usual number.
This is largely due to Covid 19 and the anxiety surrounding it, the isolation caused by lockdown, or indeed financial worries due to redundancy which has put pressure on relationships. Thankfully, the centre received the Government’s wage subsidy and Ministry of Social Development Covid funding in April to support its services, but this is now running out.
There are so many needs within the Kāpiti community for those facing mental distress, and Te Ara Korowai continues to work diligently to provide support through free counselling, peer support and wellbeing activities as it has done under various organisations since the 1990’s.
Back then in response to the closure of institutional mental health facilities, a group of consumers started the Psychiatric Survivors group. It developed into Crossroads and in 2011 merged with Kāpiti Choices to become Te Ara Korowai.
It was born out of the needs and the determination of people going through tough times and with experience of mental distress – needs that could be said to be even greater today.
So why is the future of this wellbeing centre under threat?
The Wellbeing Centre currently receives no sustainable funding from the Ministry of Social Development or the Capital & Coast District Health Board despite successfully holding contracts in the past. Like many NGOs, it relies on donations plus Lottery funding and grants from a pool which has become smaller and smaller as more charities apply.
However, similar organisations in Wellington and the Hutt Valley receive sustainable funding ‘” Why not Kāpiti?
The Board and manager approached Mana Electoral MP, the Hon Kris Faafoi, back in March to ask this very question and were hopeful with positive initial meetings. Then Covid struck and now it is election time so they are still waiting on an answer as understandably parliamentarians have other things on their minds.
But time is running out. Unless the Wellbeing Centre receives sustainable funding, it is highly likely it will have to close its doors at Christmas.
‘It would be devastating for the Kāpiti community if Te Ara Korowai was to close.’(Nick Wastney, Team Leader, Kāpiti Community Mental Health Team)
‘The work this organisation does in the community is of immense value and importance.’ (Janet Holborow, Deputy Mayor, Kāpiti Coast District Council).
Te Ara Korowai Chair Debbie Godwin says closure will directly affect between 250-400 vulnerable people who access its services each year, as well as redundancy for 5 part time staff.
“It will leave the Kāpiti Coast without a safe accessible mental health wellbeing space where trained staff warmly welcome people from Paekākāariki to Ōtaki and walk beside them on their individual road to recovery, whatever that looks like for them.”
What can you do
If you’d like to support Te Ara Korowai Wellbeing Centre to receive sustainable funding from the Government in order to continue serving the Kāpiti community, you can email/send letters of support, or lobby candidates standing for election whom you are voting for.