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Thursday August 13, 2015

Advocacy service comes to a close By Sam Duff

A Newtown mental health advocacy service, which has been running for the past 15 years, has come to an end. At the end of June Capital and Coast District Health Board (CCDHB) brought to a close the Inner City Project, for which the Newtown Union Health Service (NUHS) was the lead organisation. NUHS mental health advocate, Sonia Smith, says the Inner City Project was about helping clients move forward with their lives. Advocacy services provided by the Inner City Project included helping clients connect with social service providers, court appearances, issues with power bills and much more, Sonia says. NUHS manager, Fiona Osten, says the Inner City Project was first established in 2000. “At the end of the 90s there were a group of organisations that were providing mental health support in Wellington,” she says. “They found there was a theme that they were servicing the same group of people.”

The providers put a proposal together which was given to the CCDHB and soon the Inner City Project began. Fiona says mental health consumers have high needs and before the Inner City Project they were not accessing social services like other people do. “Some were homeless, some were just out of prison, some were on their own,” she says. Fiona says that in the past few years there has been a reshuffle in the way mental health services are run. With the contract ending for the Inner City Project the CCDHB is set to contract four organisations to provide advocacy services for mental health consumers. NUHS is one of these organisations and a part of the contract will involve research into the needs of the mental health community. “We’re not sure at this stage if it will leave any gaps or not but we hope it won’t.” Asked why it is so important for the mental health community to be advocated for, Sonia says it is people’s lives. “They don’t know processes,

A temporary camping site for freedom campers could be open within a matter of months, according to Wellington City Mayor Celia Wade-Brown. The Council Environment Committee has agreed to public consultation on a low cost camping site proposed for Happy Valley. Mayor Wade-Brown says she wants Wellington to be welcoming to visitors of all budget levels and encourage them to enjoy their stay. Changes to the public places bylaw of the Freedom Camping Act 2011 came into effect in

December 2014, allowing free camping at Owhiro Bay’s Te Kopahou Reserve. After a number of complaints from residents about large numbers of campers and their rubbish, Council decided to review the freedom camping bylaw. Council says most submissions on the freedom camping bylaw agreed with council’s proposals to restrict numbers at Te Kopahou. Mayor Wade-Brown says Council staff have worked hard to ensure, if there is public support, that a temporary campsite could be open in Happy Valley by this summer. “I’m positive about the sug-

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Save the Children Wellington Branch has invited Dame Therese Walsh to address their Valmai Foster luncheon on Monday. The luncheon will be held at the Miramar Golf Club from midday on Monday.  For more information contact Gill Saunders on 4793231.

Holy Cross School INNER CITY PROJECT: Newtown Union Health Service manager Fiona Osten and mental health advocate Sonia Smith. PHOTO: Sam Duff

their human rights get abused and there is a stigma around mental health consumers,” Sonia says.

 For more information about mental health advocacy services contact Sonia Smith on 0276299807.

Contact Nicola E M 027 2222871

gested location as it has enough basic facilities that it could open in months,” she says. “Happy Valley has a pleasant surrounding - walks round Tawatawa Reserve and the wonderful city to sea walkway or the track up to Te Kopahou Reserve or ten minutes to the beautiful South Coast. “Carlucci Land and Owhiro Community Gardens are nearby too. “It’s a convenient location to move vehicles to from Te Kopahou Reserve visitors centre or other parts of the south coast.” According to Council during the summer period about 100 vehicles a day arrive in Wel-

lington looking for somewhere to park and camp for the night. “The south coast is lovely but the combination of a good summer, the new Freedom Camping Act, and online promotion, meant many local residents felt the approved freedom camping sites were overwhelmed,” Mayor Wade-Brown says. Public consultation is expected to take place in the next month and run for four weeks.  Should Wellington City Council open a camp ground for freedom campers in Happy Valley? Email and let us know what you think.

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Oscar winning director Sir Peter Jackson and his wife Fran Walsh have come to the rescue of a Seatoun church. The couple have purchased St Christopher’s Church in Seatoun for a reported $1.06 million to save it from being developed or demolished. Miramar Peninsula Community Trust will lease the buildings back from the Wellywood power couple. The future of the church has been in question since it was given a yellow sticker and declared earthquake prone in November 2012.

Council camp could be open by summer By Sam Duff



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