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Seeking help as our region begins to move forward

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As the region moves towards recovery, Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group is scaling back its response to COVID-19 – but there is still support in place for those who need it.
The move involves switching off the dedicated welfare helpline.
People who need assistance can still get help through existing support channels.

In Alert Level 4, the group launched the 0800 number to support people who needed urgent help accessing food, medication or other household goods and services. 
Group Controller Ian Macdonald said the need for the temporary helpline had significantly reduced since we moved down alerts levels as a country.
“The team has done an amazing job, with the help of many other organisations, to make sure there was a ‘safety net’ so no one was left without the necessities during the response,” he said.
“The calls to this line have dropped off now, and usual agencies are in a position to take any future calls.”
Mr Macdonald said the welfare line provided a vital service to many people who would have otherwise struggled to access necessities.
“Through the 0800 number, our welfare team tallied more than 7000 inbound and outbound calls, and carried out more than 1600 needs assessments.
“We’ve delivered more than 1100 food parcels and close to 170 winter clothing and blanket packages to people in hardship because of the COVID-19 lockdown.
“We’ve also provided financial support directly to local food banks, which they’ve put towards funding thousands of food parcels for Hawke’s Bay families.”
The welfare line was staffed by around 40 redeployed workers from Hawke’s Bay’s five councils, and 16 staff from The Development Hub – a local organisation that provides employment, training and education opportunities to people, including young Māori and Pasifika women, sole parents and those returning to the workforce.
“We’re incredibly thankful to everyone who has worked with us during this response – we truly couldn’t have helped as many people in Hawke’s Bay without them,” Mr Macdonald.
The 0800 number was just one of the many ways people could access support during the response period in Hawke’s Bay.  
“Over the past few months we have witnessed some incredible support across our region,” said Mr Macdonald.
“The number of parcels we’ve sent out doesn’t reflect the vast community welfare response and the thousands of food packages delivered by food banks, the various Taiwhenua, and community organisations. Our welfare service was just part of a region-wide, multi-agency effort that’s gone into getting people the help they need.”
Mr Macdonald stressed that help was still available to those who need it.
“COVID-19 has changed how many of us live and work in Hawke’s Bay, and it’s okay to ask for help,” he said.
“Please reach out to local services if you need to.” 
If you or someone you know needs assistance, please check the following options:  

  • If you’re struggling to cope with the effects of COVID-19, phone 0800 561 332
  • For health advice, contact your doctor or phone Healthline on 0800 611 116 
  • If you’re looking for work or need financial support, phone Work and Income on 0800 559 009 
  • If you’re over 65 and need assistance, phone 0800 552 002
  • For immediate food needs, contact your local foodbank or visit 
  • For temporary accommodation related to COVID-19 isolation, phone the Temporary Accommodation Service on 0508 754 163 
  • For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, call or text 1737 to talk to a trained counsellor for free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • If you’re not sure who to talk to, phone the government helpline on 0800 779 997 

For everything you need to know about the New Zealand response to COVID-19, visit 

18 June 2020

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