Deloitte’s Social Impact Practice (SIP) speaker series recently brought in Adam Robertson from the Christchurch City Mission (CCM) to speak about the work they’re doing to improve family and community wellbeing and resilience.

The SIP community appreciated Adam’s time and took a lot away from what he shared. Here are some of the highlights of the session.

No one is immune to hard times

The CCM are often called upon to provide help to working parents, who for one reason or another are finding it difficult to make ends meet. In some instances, these families appear to be doing well and show up for assistance dressed in business attire, but in reality are struggling to put food on the table and a roof over their head.

Adam highlighted that instead of focusing solely on the immediate need, like a requirement for a food parcel, they strive to understand what is driving their current situation. Through knowing the root cause, they can connect the individual or family with a variety of support services, suited to their specific needs. They also work closely with other non-governmental organisations such as St Vincent de Paul’s to make sure their reach is widespread and the people they serve get the support they need.

Increase literacy in a way that meets the need

This year the CCM plan to expand their services to provide a range of education opportunities to their community, this will cover many essential skills including digital, numerical and reading literacy. The CCM’s aspiration is to create a space where the community can come to learn at the right level, pace and style for their individual needs, setting them up for success.

When speaking about how people who need help can be encouraged to engage with these services, Adam reminded us of how essential it is to create an open and non-judgmental environment in which to receive support and the importance of language choice. Rather than telling someone that they are doing something wrong, the focus should be on selecting empowering language and helping them see how they can do something in a better way.

Co-designing the CONNECT digital literacy programme with Deloitte

Deloitte has been working with the CCM to help develop CONNECT, a digital literacy programme they can offer their community to help them become more comfortable using technology. The Christchurch team took a co-design approach and engaged with those who would use the programme to understand the specific learning needs and preferences of the audience. CONNECT will be launched later this year.

There are a range of ways to be involved

With only 20 percent of CCM’s costs covered by government funding and over 27,000 charities in New Zealand, competition for philanthropic dollars is tight. Adam identified a range of ways we can support our local city mission:

  • For the time-poor, he suggested starting by ‘liking’ and following Christchurch City Mission on social media. While this may sound like an unusual request, people cannot access or support their services if they do not know about them - the further their messages spread, the more impact they are likely to have.
  • For those with some disposable income, donating to CCM provides the opportunity for them to keep their doors open. Additionally, picking up a can or two to donate each time you shop, will help fill the 30,000-40,000 food parcels CCM provide annually to Christchurch residents.
  • For those with some spare time, volunteering for meal service at your local mission can be a huge help.

His key message was that we should support within our means, remembering that tiny acts of service build up to contribute in a meaningful way.

They want to be put out of business

The best result for CCM would be to put themselves out of work. Recognising that this is unlikely in the short term, their message to everyone is that while they hope you don’t need their services, don’t ever hesitate to use them. They are here to support you and help you rebuild yourself and your life, should you ever need it.

For more information on Deloitte’s Social Impact Practice, visit our webpage.

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