29 Apr 2013

Recession funding for agencies runs out

9:23 am on 29 April 2013

Social services agencies are scrambling to raise money to replace a Government community funding programme set up to help organisations with the cost of the recession.

The Community Response Fund established in response to the 2008 economic downturn is set to end in June.

Through the fund, the Government has given almost $79 million to 823 organisations.

Among them is Christchurch Women's Refuge, whose fund manager Julie McCloy says the cuts could not have come at a worse time.

She says many people are still feeling the effects of the recession, and especially in Christchurch due to the earthquakes.

Age Concern national president Evelyn Weir says the money has been crucial in helping the organisation and it now has to find other ways to keep parts of the service running.

Salvation Army social services secretary Pam Waugh says it recently had to cut four social workers' jobs in Auckland and could lose more than a third of its 50 budget advisors if the funding stops.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says the Government is aware of the pressures on organisations and will be making an announcement about Budgeting Services shortly.