One-stop Accessible Community Directory for Region

13 April 2012

Wellington City Council and the Capital and Coast District Health Board are working in partnership to produce an accessible community directory for the region.

The two-year project involves expanding and widening access to the Council's existing online community directory.

The Council's community directory is consistently popular, attracting about 17,000 visits per month.

The expanded directory will have a wider regional focus and include information links to health, disability and support services as well as recreational and leisure groups.

The aim is to have a comprehensive, usable and accessible directory of community activities and services - from arts, sports and hobbies to health and housing to disability support and childcare - so anyone looking for such information need only visit one place.

The Council's Social Portfolio Leader, Councillor Stephanie Cook, says it's an ambitious project but there is a need for a region-wide community directory, or a one-stop shop.

"This is about making it easier for people, especially the more vulnerable in our community, to get the information they need," says Cr Cook.

"We want the directory to capture all of the organisations out there that offer information and services, whether it's about disabilities, health, support services or leisure activities and bring them together under one roof."

The Ministry of Social Development will fund two people in part-time positions who have direct experience of disability. The positions have emerged from an agreement between CCDHB and MSD, further enhanced by a beneficial partnership with the Council to host the workers. They will guide the development of access information across the directory.

CCDHB Senior Disability Advisor Dr Pauline Boyles says the information available on a range of health recreational and social services is currently fragmented, which particularly disadvantages people with high support needs.

"This collaborative initiative  will provide a single entry point to better meet the needs for our more vulnerable population, in particular those with disabilities, and provide valuable information in a simple and accessible format for the wider Wellington Region," says Dr Boyles.

"Young people leaving paediatric services are particularly disadvantaged when seeking support from adult services. Families, GPs and specialists in recent work completed within CCDHB identified the need for an up to date accessible directory to help them navigate through a complex dynamic system."