Six new assistance centres opening on Saturday

5:49 pm on 5 March 2011

New centres offering welfare and support services are opening on Saturday morning to help people in some of the hardest-hit Christchurch suburbs.

Civil Defence says the six non-residential recovery assistance centres are operating from 9am to 4pm each day in eastern areas of the city.

More are expected to open next week.

The National Civil Defence Controller, John Hamilton, says the centres will meet a wide range of needs.

"These are one-stop shops where people can access welfare information and services," Mr Hamilton says. "They will bring together government, local government and non-governmental agencies, making them accessible in community locations."

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says the centres will offer help from agencies like Work and Income, Housing New Zealand, Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

The new centres are at the Nga Hau e Wha Marae in Aranui, the Aranui Recreation Centre, the Linwood Community Link, the Parklands Baptist Church, St Faiths Hall in New Brighton and the Shirley Rugby Club.

Meanwhile, the welfare centre at Pioneer Stadium was the only residental centre still operating overnight; the three others - in Rangiora, Burnside and Windsor - closed on Friday.