Community centres get the green light

November 30, 2020

IHC will soon be introducing community centres in towns and cities around New Zealand.

The green light came from the IHC Board at its latest meeting in Wellington on 22 October. On the same day the IDEA Services Board agreed to make some changes to the way we deliver support services during the day.

IHC already has a long history in communities, and the new centres will be places for people with and without disabilities to come together for activities, socialising or learning opportunities.

IHC Board Chair Tony Shaw says the board is keen to see an increased IHC presence in communities and it’s a good time for us to bring people together in this way as we work towards more contemporary day services and activities for people with intellectual disabilities that better align with the Government’s thinking.

“The idea of community centres is that we work with communities to see what’s already around, where there are gaps and what people want,” Tony says.

“The feedback from the National Services Review included a lot of messages about people wanting these centres established and the importance of our role in communities. IHC is committed to doing more.”

Donna Mitchell, IHC General Manager Service Development and Strategy, led the National Services Review of vocational and residential services with Chief Operating Officer Joan Cowan.

Donna says there are opportunities to do things better and give people more choice.

 “What we are talking about goes far wider than day services,” says Donna. “We will be able to offer the space to all sorts of organisations and bring people together for one-off events or ongoing programmes.”

Janine Stewart, IHC’s General Manager of Programmes, says many IHC Associations and community organisations will be able to take advantage of the centres. “They will bring all parts of IHC together with local groups wanting to respond to what people with intellectual disabilities and families want.”

It will take some time to establish which communities want a community centre and whether these need to be new or modifications of what’s already working. Conversations in communities will start in the new year.

More than 2000 people provided feedback during the review, and the voice of people we support was particularly strong in calling for a new way of providing day services.

See the special insert in the centre pages to find out more about how community centres could work and details about the findings of the National Services Review.

Above: Katie Sarah (left) and IHC volunteer Caitlin Evans explore their North Shore community.