Community navigator role created to help newcomers to Nelson-Richmond area

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Newcomers to the Nelson-Richmond area such as former refugees and other migrants don’t always know where or how to access health and social support services, nor what services are available.

In an effort to fill that gap, Victory Community Centre, English Language Partners and Nelson Multicultural Council have worked together to create a community navigator role to support people as they integrate into the Nelson and Richmond communities.

Victory Community Centre chairwoman Helen Watson said the new job would be 20 hours a week, with recruitment likely in November. The goal was to have the successful applicant start in the new year, she said.

Rātā Foundation was expected to provide a grant for the first year while Nelson City Council had allocated Community Investment Funding of $30,000 a year in a three-year agreement.

“Nelson City Council has been extremely generous,” Watson said.

The development of the navigator role comes as organisations such as English Language Partners pick up this pastoral care, which is outside its core work.

Manager Tony Fitzwater said English Language Partners was the first point of contact for some newcomers who might want help with other matters such as health, accessing services and housing.

“It’s not our core role but we take care of them,” Fitzwater said.

Some home tutors were also doing extra work such as taking people to appointments or helping them find housing.

Watson said the navigator was expected to offer three layers of support: providing information, providing information and making referrals, and direct support, which might mean going with someone to access a service.

Typically, the navigator would be providing information or links for people “not doing it for them”, she said.

Nelson Multicultural Council chairwoman Luz Zuniga said as a migrant herself, she believed being able to count on a community navigator would be an “unprecedented opportunity for newcomers of ethnic communities to get relevant guidance and support”.

“When you are new to a country, you face several layers of communication barriers, especially if English is not your first language and your home cultural practices are very different to the local ones,” Zuniga said. “Here is where the community navigator is important because they will basically help people to find their own way around the services. Us migrants, we need to overcome our fear of facing the unknown and be able to connect with others and build our networks.”

Watson said anyone interested in finding out more about the new role could contact any of the organisations involved.

Originally posted in Stuff/Nelson Mail: https://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/107708915/community-navigator-role-created-to-help-newcomers-to-nelsonrichmond-area. Cherie Sivignon – Oct 11 2018

Community Navigator
Tony Fitzwater, of English Language Partners, Rebecca Greig and Helen Watson, of Victory Community Centre, Scott Tambisari, of Nelson City Council, and Mary Bronsteter, of Nelson Multicultural Council, meet to define the guidelines for a new community navigator role.


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