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Community and Public Health in Mid Canterbury (Ashburton)
The Mid Canterbury region covers the central South Island between the Rakaia and Rangitata rivers (the Ashburton District), with Ashburton as the main township. The area is one of the fastest growing rural districts in New Zealand, and is becoming more ethnically diverse with over the half the recent population increase resulting from arriving international migrants (2006 to 2011).
Community and Public Health provides services to the more than 33,000 people of this area, and is based at the Ashburton Hospital site.
The small team in Ashburton is made up of two health promoters and an administrator. These staff focus on:
- working with local Māori to ensure available health services are promoted and accessible to Māori;
- using the Health Promoting Schools framework to promote healthy food choices and healthy environments for physical activity in schools;
- promoting healthy nutrition choices and healthy environments for physical activity in workplaces and the community;
- supporting workplaces through the WorkWell programme; and
- promoting the Smokefree message.
Christchurch-based staff support the Mid-Canterbury region to enforce the Smokefree Environments Act, and provide infectious disease and environmental health services.
The Ashburton office has a small Community Health Information Centre, providing health information resources free to the public.
Emergency Relief Fund announced for Mid Canterbury residents
Ashburton District Council media release: 4th June 2021
People and families in Mid Canterbury experiencing financial hardship as a result of the recent flood events will soon be able to apply for funds to help with essential costs.
Ashburton District Mayor Neil Brown has finalised the criteria for the Emergency Relief Fund which will begin accepting applications from Tuesday, 8 June. The fund is designed to assist with essential costs of daily life not covered by insurance or other funds where an immediate need exists.
The outpouring of support from communities all over the country in the wake of the Ashburton floods has been incredible and the relief fund provides a further avenue of support for those in need, Mayor Brown said.
“The eligibility to apply is reasonably wide in the hopes those in real need are not in any way inhibited from gaining the support they need.
“In the meantime, if there is an immediate financial need not covered by insurance or other forms of assistance, people are advised to apply as soon as they are able,” he added.
Scheme helping rural migrants get driver’s licence secures funding
Ministry for Primary Industries media release: 28th April 2021
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is funding an initiative to help migrants living in rural Mid Canterbury get a driver’s licence, leading to greater independence.
Up to 24 mainly migrant women who live on rural properties or in small towns will be enrolled in a road code course to gain a learner’s licence under the programme.
MPI is providing $20,000 for the programme to be delivered by the Mid Canterbury Rural Driver Licensing Scheme. The scheme has helped more than 70 people through its road code course since 2018.
“It can be incredibly difficult living in a rural area without a driver’s licence. It can also be more isolating if you’re new to a district. Being unable to travel limits people’s ability to socialise, make friends and integrate into the community,” says MPI’s director of rural communities and farming support Nick Story.
The scheme is a partnership between Safer Mid Canterbury and the Mid Canterbury Rural Support Trust. MPI’s funding will enable the scheme to continue providing its skill-building programme in the 2021-22 financial year.
“Not having a driver’s licence in a rural or regional area can make it impossible for a person to find work and earn an income,” says Wendy Hewitt – the programme coordinator of the Mid Canterbury Rural Driver Licensing Scheme.