News | 9 September 2021
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Frontline Council staff help city housing community

Wellington City Council had to close most of its services and facilities during Alert Levels 3 and 4, meaning many staff were unable to work as usual. So, with libraries and pools shut, our Libraries, and Parks, Sports and Recreation (PSR) teams got out and about to help our City Housing community during this challenging time.

Four people wearing masks and spaced out across a large while and blue-carpeted room, standing in among dozens of paper bags and banana boxes while giving the thumbs up.

All masked up and wearing gloves, teams of six have been picking up food from Kaibosh Food Rescue, safely sorting it into bags, and then loading it into cars and delivering to doorsteps via contactless delivery. All meals have been catering for halal and other dietary requirements.


City Housing Senior Advisor Jamie Shackleton says the Council’s Libraries and PSR teams have been the best people for the job.


“They are community-facing staff who know quite a few people from our tenant community already. It turns out they are ideal for that reason, and it’s a bonus that they are also pros at sorting and organising. It was impressive to see them work as a team to sort out a streamlined process.”


A wide array of partnerships work with Kaibosh to keep the food flowing to the people that need it the most. Kaibosh food is now going out to 215 City Housing homes every week, across six separate food deliveries, to eight housing complexes in Mt Cook, Newtown, Berhampore and Kilbirnie.


Three people wearing masks standing spaced apart with their arms spread in celebration, in a room with colourful bunting and dozens of paper bags filled with groceries lined up in the middle on the carpet.

While Council teams are covering about half of the food going out to our tenants, two community groups, Capital Mosaic and Tēpu mō tātou, continue to cover the food deliveries to Mt Cook and Berhampore - which they do every week throughout all alert levels. 


During Alert Levels 1 and 2, tenant volunteers support the community groups and manage Kaibosh food distributions themselves in Kilbirnie.  


One of the Council volunteers, Sara Carey from Wellington City Libraries, says the work has been rewarding. 


“I can actually do something during this lockdown that is making a difference to our community. It’s great to feel useful and I love being a part of a happy working team.” 


Jamie says it’s been a lot of work, both sorting the food and delivering it to flats, while also ensuring it is done in a safe and efficient way. 


“The learnings from the initial lockdown have been of great value. This time around we have been able to keep the Kaibosh food flowing with barely any interruption - a huge improvement from last year.”


A table filled with donated food, including soups, fresh produce, breads and containers of olives and meat, in front of a library shelf filled with books.

However, the current lockdown has come with different pressures, Jamie explains.


“We have had to review and consult about our health and safety requirements in regards to the new variant, to ensure we are still protecting our staff and tenants as much as possible. 


“We are also following all guidance and requirements from Civil Defence. It’s been a challenge, but we’ve made sure that we’re keeping everyone’s health and safety front of mind while doing new tasks for our community.


“We are incredibly grateful to our colleagues at PSR and the Libraries for the redeployments, and to the Welfare Response Team for their input and connections to keep us updated.”


A large room with blue carpet and three people wearing masks and colourful clothes standing spaced out among tables filled with cardboard boxes and food, including fresh produce and bottles of milk.

Ka pai team!