An update on Ki Te Tihi/ The Loft

If you have been following local news over the last few months, you might have seen some worrying headlines about The Loft/Ki Te Tihi. The Loft opened in 2016 as a collaborative partnership of community, social and health services working to improve the wellbeing of whai ora in our community. There is no reason to assume that the cut to The Loft’s funding will directly impact Aviva’s services or mean that we need to relocate.

However, the Loft’s pioneering Social Emergency Response Service (SERS) is at risk of closure, or significant reduction in capacity. This is because Ministry of Social Development funding has been discontinued. What this effectively means is that there is now a huge gap in the funding which allows three Community Connectors to work directly with whai ora, connecting them to the services they need.

This could have devastating effects for individuals and the community in Ōtautahi, because SERS is the only service which anyone can access, without an appointment and be connected to every service and support they need, without having to repeat their story again and again. It is likely they will be able to continue operating a reception for clients and visitors to Aviva and the other services housed here. However, without SERS, thousands of individuals and families, who could have been helped, are at risk of falling through the cracks of a system that is hard to navigate.

SERS provides a vital service to so many. They are professional and compassionate people who offer those in our community who need it validation, guidance and manaakitanga. As a client who came to Aviva through SERS put it:

“I was at my lowest point, and I just didn’t know what to do... I spoke to [one of the Loft’s Community Connectors]. I think if she could just tell that if I wasn’t doing it there and then, I wouldn’t have come back. She was amazing… I’ll be forever grateful. Just the way she listened and she believed me; I felt validated. She made it easy for me to keep talking.”  

Accessing SERS is a turning point in the lives of so many people. There is currently a petition to reinstate the funding for this vital, one-of-a-kind service. It can be found here.