Some good news and some bad news

by Luis Arevalo - Manager, Catholic Social Services (CSS)

2024 started as a mixed bag - some really exciting news that helps us shape the future of how we better serve the community and some really quite sad news that marks the end of an era.

Research shows that most people would rather hear the bad news first. Since we are a research informed organisation, I’ll do as research says and tell you the bad news first.

After almost 60 years, Catholic Social Services (CSS) will no longer be running a food bank. As we are all aware, the cost of living has hit us hard in all aspects of our lives, none more than the cost of food. As we have had to purchase all the food we give to our food bank clients, it just got too expensive in the end. Grants for the food bank were not keeping up with the costs of us having to purchase it, so I made the very hard decision to close it. All of our clients will be pointed towards St Vincent de Paul for their food needs. 

Now the good news. As you may be aware from our last Inform article, I commissioned an independent researcher to look at potential service gaps in the community for those between the ages of 5-12 years, with an eye to us building capacity around those gaps. The research, which concluded earlier than expected, identified three areas where CSS should look at expanding and/or starting:

- Child and Family Psychology /Learning Assessments - the research identified a huge need for us to expand this service into the regions.

- Free Counselling - Explore options for increasing our free counselling capacity into the regions and

- Child and Adolescent Anxiety - tailoring our group programmes with an emphasis on addressing child and adolescent anxiety.

These findings are key in helping us form our strategic vision and intent for the future and gives us a high level of confidence that if we are able to deliver on these findings, then we are directly delivering to the needs of our communities. That said, funding is the only hurdle we face in our wish to serve the community. 

We are extremely grateful for all the support received and we hope it will increase proportionally with the demand and help us address all requests in a meaningful and timely manner.

Matthew Brodie House
336 Cashel Street, Christchurch 8140.
Tel: (03) 379 0012

Published in Inform Issue 140 - Lent 2024