Our Stories

 

July 2018

 

Otago Corrections Facility Foundation Skills

One of the Foundation Skills 1 students, who has been in the class for 5 weeks, had been observing the others in their final assessments and was getting caught up in their excitement. He wanted to know when he was going to be at the stage where they were, he wanted to be three or four months ahead of where he was. In chatting with this student I discovered he liked the format in which the work was presented, he liked the small groups and the individualised help. He didn’t feel he was stupid as everybody was in the same situation as him. In hearing students talk like this it brings with it the realisation of the challenging circumstances many of the student have faced in their lives and that in doing the Foundation courses they are giving themselves a better chance in life once they have been released.

 

Invercargill Prison Skills for Dads

This was the first time Methodist Mission Southern staff had delivered the programme in Invercargill Prison and over the course of the programme we had a number of participants who were released before they finished. We included them so that they would be able to take away some of the learning, and that would be worthwhile. We have found the group dynamics made a big impact on classroom effectiveness. Because some men were due for release during the programme they would get a bit agitated and unsettled, impacting on the learning, which in turn unsettled the others. Feedback from participants was really positive and the group appreciated the practical parenting suggestions. One participant was particularly committed to learning everything he could before release, so much so, he would sometimes pull others back into line when things got side-tracked. He knew he had limited time in the class to learn what he wanted to learn.

 

Client Support Work

Harry presented at the office looking for help to apply to Work and Income for some financial support. Harry said he had rung WINZ and they had suggested he come to our service to get some support to help him apply online. After talking with Harry it became clear he did not have the technologies needed to apply online, i.e., no computer or cell phone. Harry also did not want to ‘waste his time’ applying if Work and Income could not help him. The thought of providing ‘a mountain of paperwork’ was off putting for Harry. Harry is a 59 year old man who lives on his own. He has no children and no partner. Last month he had a stroke and was hospitalised for some time. Harry said he was on his last week of sick leave entitlement and his medical certificate was for another 2 weeks and would be reviewed. Harry stated he has annual leave but doesn't want to use this as he knows he will have follow up hospital appointments once he goes back to work and will need the leave to cover those absences. Harry is unable to drive and will need to be reassessed before he can get the 'go ahead' to drive again. This was another barrier for Harry in applying for financial support as he would need to travel for an appointment. Harry was supported in his application and this required the client support worker to ring the WINZ office to find an alternative way for Harry to apply for the benefit. An appointment was made for Harry to attend and a list of what he needed was emailed to the client support worker before the meeting. The client support worker provided transport for Harry to attend the meeting. Harry was supported at his meeting with Work and Income. Outcome - Harry was happy his application for financial assistance from Work and Income was successful as he was now able to concentrate on getting better without the pressure of rushing back to work to pay the bills at the expense of his health.

 

Dunedin Little Citizens Client Support Work

Following a visit to her GP, during which she was given contact details for the service, Ripeka, a single mother of a teenager, self-referred. She explained that she was looking for advocacy in regard to her health conditions. The work with Ripeka focussed on supporting her to build her knowledge and confidence in advocating for her needs with several health professionals. During the time we were working together Ripeka was also able to use these skills in her personal relationships. At the conclusion of the service Ripeka reflected that the biggest change had been in her perception of her own ability to navigate situations; during the course of the service situations had occurred where her initial thought had been to ask for my support, but she had managed them herself.

 

Otepoti Youth Transition House

It been a busy month at the YTH. We have had one resident move on to other accommodation in the community and we have welcomed our first young man to the house who has settled in very well. Everyone has been on school holidays recently so lots of baking, outings, family visits and relaxing has been happening. There has also been plenty of time to look for suitable accommodation in the community. It has proven very challenging for those not yet 18 but we have made a good connection with a willing property owner and are hoping this will result in something suitable coming along soon. Our Client Support Worker has been supporting the residents with their rental applications and accompanying them on flat visits. We have had some visitors from local agencies; Mackenzie from Te Hou Ora Whanau Services, Jen from Otago Youth Wellness Trust and Jude one of the public Health Nurses offering support for our residents. Chris from Victim Support and Danni at the Otago Polytechnic called with enquiries about how their clients could get on the waiting list.

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