Presbyterian Support to aid refugees

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Presbyterian Support South Canterbury will provide refugee settlement support services from February 2020.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) announced last week that the organisation was one of three appointed to provide support in five new locations. The others are the New Zealand Red Cross and Safer Ashburton.

The new locations, announced in May, include Masterton, Levin, Ashburton, Timaru and Blenheim, and follow the Government’s decision to increase the annual refugee quota to 1500 places from 2020.

Their role includes supporting refugees in the initial stages of resettlement and ensuring families are linked to vital services to settle into the community.

Andrew Lockhart, National Manager Refugee and Migrant Support, said MBIE was satisfied the providers selected had the capability, experience and infrastructure to deliver refugee settlement support services in the new locations

“This is a unique opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of refugees who are new to the country and we are confident the New Zealand Red Cross, Presbyterian Support South Canterbury and Safer Ashburton will successfully support refugees to actively participate in their new communities.”

The duration of the contracts is from February 2020 to 30 June 2022, to align with the contract that covers the eight existing refugee settlement locations. Another procurement process will occur for all 14 refugee settlement locations in June 2022.

Timaru District Mayor, Nigel Bowen, congratulated Presbyterian Support South Canterbury, saying that he was looking forward to welcoming our newest residents to the district.

“The whole Timaru district is known for its friendliness and fantastic quality of life and we’re looking forward to welcoming these latest residents to become an integral part of the community.

“Many of these people are leaving difficult and dangerous environments but also their wider families and support networks behind, which can make settling into a new community challenging.

“However, they bring with them a wealth of skills, knowledge and fresh perspectives and with the right support to get settled can enhance and enrich our communities.

Mr Bowen said Presbyterian Support South Canterbury already does a wealth of excellent work in the community, and is well prepared to help people settle into their new lives in Timaru, but it was also important that the community extended a warm welcome.