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Money from crime re-invested in a collaborative service in Whanganui

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Te Oranganui Trust, Whanganui District Health Board, Balance Aotearoa and New Zealand Police are privileged to announce they have received $3.5 million over three years from the Proceeds of Crime Fund, to be invested in a collaborative mental health and addiction crisis service for the Whanganui region. This is the largest amount that has been awarded to any one project this year.

The Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009 allows Police to use cash and assets that have been obtained directly or indirectly from the proceeds of crime. The recovered money is placed into the contestable Proceeds of Crime Fund.

"Applying for this funding is a highly competitive process and to be successful is a wonderful reflection on the team who produced the application," Whanganui Area Commander Inspector Ross Grantham says.

Four groups, Te Oranganui Trust, Balance Aotearoa , the Whanganui DHB and the Police collectively applied for funding to support tangata whaiora (service users) who are in mental health crisis by providing a co-response to improving access to mental health and addiction services, reducing hospital admissions and contact with Police, to achieve better outcomes for individuals and whanau.

"We know that mental health crisis is a time when our tangata whaiora and their family are at their most vulnerable, and most need response care wrapped around them. A similar co-response model has been trialled successfully in other parts of the motu, and we have learnt from and expanded on the other trials to ensure we have the right model for our community. We are pleased to see Whanganui has been recognised as worthy of this investment." Alex Kemp, Chief Allied Professions Officer says.

The project has full support from senior leaders across the 4 organisations, who have committed to partner throughout the project tenure to ensure success of delivery.

A unique aspect of this initiative will be that the contract will be held by one organisation, but the roles can be distributed across all four organisations. Te Oranganui Trust operates the biggest iwi and community based mental health and addiction service in the community and the CEO, Wheturangi Walsh-Tapiata, stated that, "this model of all sharing and working together to support tangata whaiora is one that they have been utilising in other areas. No competition, just all focussed on working together to help those in need."

"Collaboration to develop a crisis co-response is a practical step in using what we have and developing it further for the wider community." Frank Bristol-General Manager Balance Aotearoa.

A number of positions will be required for the programme: a project manager/business manager, a mental health crisis clinician, an alcohol and other drug (AOD) clinician, a family violence keyworker, a peer support worker(s), a cultural support role and a person who will be responsible for developing data collection systems and shared information systems.

The first step will be to appoint the project manager role, and the initiative will be launched in July 2022.

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