There’s no shame in asking for help

08 May 2020

Help has been provided to thousands of individuals and families across the north Waikato during COVID-19.

The North Waikato Combined Emergency Operations Centre's welfare team has received a large number of calls for assistance from residents in Hamilton and the Waikato district. The calls are answered by the Waikato Welfare Call Centre on 0800 800 405 and are sent to the welfare teams to follow up on.

Since its establishment on 31 March, the regional call centre has received more than 2300 calls for assistance. Of these, around 1500 have been for north Waikato residents.

North Waikato Combined Waikato Emergency Operating Centre (NWCEOC) Controller Merv Balloch says the team have the capacity to help more people.

“Our welfare staff worked hard early on to ensure our elderly and vulnerable community members were identified and linked with support.

“We want to make sure we aren't missing anyone so if you know someone struggling, please ask them to call 0800 800 405 so they can get some help.”

In addition to call centre requests, the NWCEOC welfare team manages a small number of direct referrals, supports local foodbanks, locates emergency accommodation and connects people with medical assistance as needed.

Mr Balloch reminds people to touch base with people who may not have helpline information.

“People who don't use the internet may be missing out on key information about COVID-19 such as what help is available and how they can access that help. Please call your koro, kuia, aunties, uncles, cousins, nephews, friends or neighbours and share this information with them while you catch up on the phone.

“We know there are people out there doing it tough. We are here.”

The Waikato Welfare Call Centre is open from 7am to 7pm daily.

Some of our partners are doing great work in this space. Their details are below:

Financial Assistance (MSD/WINZ) – 0800 559 009

Mental health - Phone or text 1737 anytime

Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757

Anxiety NZ - 0800 269 4389

Lifeline - 0800 543 354

Alcohol & Drug Helpline - 0800 787 797

Family Violence Helpline - 0800 456 450

Victim Support - 0800 842 846

Women’s Refuge - 0800 733 843

0800 HEY BRO (439 276)

Rural Support Trust - 0800 787 254

LGBTQAI+ Helpline - 0800 688 5463

Asian Family Services - 0800 862 342

“There is no shame in asking for help, these are remarkable times," Mr Balloch added.

The Waikato Welfare Call Centre will be available throughout the COVID-19 response to provide local assistance for residents across the Waikato region.

ENDS

Editor’s note: Hamilton City Council and Waikato District Council have joined forces and created the North Waikato Combined Emergency Operations Centre to operate the centre, providing logistical and community support to assist the public health response.

For more information please contact:
Teresa Hancock
Senior Communications & Engagement Advisor
Waikato District Council
027 706 5776
communications@waidc.govt.nz