The St Chads Community Connection Programme was established in 2011 to provide practical help for individual clients to become involved long term in the community according to their interests and goals. This includes developing valued roles such as being a volunteer, employee, club member, or student.
The current Community Connection Programme has enabled us to source and support 39 placements out in the community in a variety of roles, fulfilling the goals and wants of the clients. Eight of these clients are in paid employment. We work closely with Supported Employment Agency to ensure that clients are well supported in employment.
All clients at St Chads access the community through recreational activities throughout the week.
23 organisations around Rotorua provide placements for St Chad’s clients including the SPCA, Rotorua Public Library, Meet n Eat Baptist Church, Pig and Whistle Restaurant, RDC Nurseries, Good News Community Radio, Parent’s Centre at Linton Park, Parksyde, TV Rotorua, Talk Tech, Urban Ore/Red Cross, Amaze Me, RAVE, Te Amorangi Museum, Briscoes, Art Expo Gallery, Video Ezy, $2 shop Rotorua Mall. Clients are enjoying developing new friendships and relationships and attending placements are often the highlight of their week.
Examples of our clients volunteering in the community are:
- Three clients volunteering at the Rotorua Public Library, two shelving books and the other works one-on-one with a member of the library staff to make bulk book orders. This has grown from just one client working there on a voluntary basis.
- Two clients help out at “Meet n Eat” at the Rotorua Baptist Church and both also stay for lunch. One client helps to set the tables for lunch and another client works there serving up the food and clearing up afterwards.
- A young client has a voluntary role at TalkTech Now, the computer shop. This has grown from him going once a week for an hour, to two days per week for half a day. He was initially supported by a volunteer but now works independently alongside staff.
- One client has worked regularly at the Pig and Whistle since 2011. It was his lifelong dream to work in a pub. He is now part of a team and works alongside the staff to restock supplies.
- One client works each week at the Salvation Army Food bank organising food parcels for those in need.
- Two clients with a passion for gardening work weekly at the Rotorua District Council nurseries alongside the gardening staff learning new skills around horticulture.
- Another client has his own show on the local Good News Community radio station 104.7FM, with a second client beginning to go along and learn how to use the equipment and develop speaking skills.
- One client makes her own way to volunteer at the Linton Park Parents Centre playgroup on a Wednesday morning. She supports parents and their toddlers in a movement to music session.
- One client has a passion for Maori art and design and would like to become an artist. She has been working with the Community Faciliator exploring galleries and exhibitions around Rotorua. She has recently been offered a placement in a local art shop creating her own pieces of art work while looking after the shop independently for short periods of time.
We have seen that having a valued role in the community, and regular contact with people outside the centre increases the confidence, self esteem and life satisfaction of our clients. People with a disability are often isolated within the community and we help to create social and work opportunities and find ‘natural supports’ to facilitate long term community inclusion. We have seen a great increase in health and quality of life in those participating in community activities.
If you would like to provide a paid or voluntary placement for one of our clients at your business/organisation please contact James Leigh on (07) 3478515 or firstname.lastname@example.org