Today (Tuesday, 18 April 2023), ComVoices launched their State of the Sector Report, the fifth biennial report providing a longitudinal track of how the Community and Voluntary Sector have been faring, and some of its findings will come as no surprise:
Post-pandemic, the Sector delivering community wellbeing has wellbeing issues of its own.
The launch was attended by Sector organisations and leaders, some of whom contributed to the Sector Survey upon which the report is based. Also in attendance were MPs from National and Green Party, as well as representatives from Oranga Tamariki and other government agencies.
Aotearoa/New Zealand’s Community and Voluntary Sector provides for the most vulnerable people across the motu. Hit with the pandemic, extreme weather events, and national tragedies in the last two years the Sector was among the first and last responders – there before, during, and then remaining after any crisis. These ongoing crises only exacerbate an already stretched and under resourced support structure.
“Some contracts are 150% by volume over what we are funded to provide,
but we have an informal unspoken rule never to turn people away that ask for help”
2022 Survey Respondent
ComVoices invited Dr Claire Achmad, Chief Executive of Social Services Provider Aotearoa, to provide a response to the Report’s findings. She noted that while grim now, the Sector has in fact been on the brink and underfunded since long before the pandemic. She hoped that the Report would inspire Government to respond with greater social investment, in the same way they recognised the need in the Health Sector last year.
ComVoices’ Chair Dr Prudence Stone – also National Executive Officer of Presbyterian Support NZ – said the comments left by the survey’s respondents were cause for alarm, as collectively they outlined growing conditions that burdened operations while the need and the complexity of need within communities kept growing.
“Funding levels did not move while Covid carried on across two years, our Sector’s people, leaders, and organisations bore the brunt of that social, financial and mental health aftermath right alongside the communities we were serving,” said Dr Stone.
“Our staff are totally overworked to the point it is not sustainable …so I am concerned about our ability to operate.”
2022 Survey Respondent
Dr Stone said our Community and Voluntary Sector needs greater acknowledgement, reflected through funding, to meet the rising needs among the people of Aotearoa.
“2022’s respondents raised the alarm – more people are in crisis than ever before, but the Sector that cares about it is also facing crisis. Does government care? In an election year, we should be challenging the candidates about this Survey’s findings and weighing up their answers before we vote.”
For further media enquiries please contact:
Dr Prudence Stone, Chair ComVoices +64 27 282 6004
To read the report in full visit https://comvoices.org.nz/state-of-the-sector-reports/