Community Link in new premises

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Community team . . . Helping Waimate tick along smoothly are (from left) Lorraine Shortus, Jakki Guildford, Julie Anderson and Megan White. PHOTO: CHRIS TOBIN

by Chris Tobin

Community Link Waimate’s shift to new premises has been a success.

In March, the services agency relocated from the Waimate Event Centre to the former Waimate Medical Centre in Glasgow St, not far from the library and Waimate District Council offices.

“We have a lot more people using our services,” operations manager Jakki Guildford said.

“It’s also great to have our sign up on the building. We feel we’re back in the centre of the community.”

Now in its 25th year, Community Link, formerly known as the Waimate District Resource Trust, provides multiple services, giving information on social services available in the district as well as funding advice for clubs and organisations, maintaining a job seekers register and offering secretarial services, to name just a few.

They are also provide a link to government agencies such as Work and Income through being an agent for Heartland Services.

“In the last financial year we’ve done over 19,000 personal contacts whether by email or walk-ins,” Ms Guildford said.

“We do a lot of printing for immigration clients. If people need to contact a government department, we can help.”

The new premises has rooms for hire and this was something Ms Guildford hoped to build up.

A public health nurse, counselling services, Workplace Support, Budget Advice, Problem Gambling Foundations, and others, currently use the rooms.

Waimate residents who wanted to use the Waimate Community Vehicle service can make bookings through Community Link.

“It runs five days a week from 8am to 4pm. All the drivers are volunteers and they do around town as well as out of town trips.

“Some days we can have two trips – up to 24 on a busy day.”

Community Link has also taken over publishing Waimate’s weekly newssheet, News and Views, as part of a community service.

“It’s 24 pages a week and is a huge job but it’s vital for the town.

“It’s the only total Waimate publication and we believe it’s essential.”

The former owner retained advertising content for another publication and handed News and Views over to Community Link which is edited by Lorraine Shortus.

“Every story is written by a member of the community, there’s no reporter and everything is provided by donations.”

Nearly 400 copies are printed each week with a further 100 copies emailed out. To cover costs a small charge is made.

“We’re happy with where it’s going.”

Ms Guildford said they hoped to have an open day in June when the new premises would be officially opened.