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Business as usual . . . Dunedin Community House management committee members and social agency leaders (from left) Dianne Lowry (Citizens Advice Bureau), interim house manager Rob Tigeir (Weave Together), chairwoman Debbie Webster (Disability Information Service) and Julie Butler (Alzheimers Otago) are keen to highlight that the house is operating as normal. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

The Dunedin Community House management committee has moved to allay community fears, reassuring clients that it is “business as usual” at the social sector hub.

Confusion has arisen after reports in December that social service umbrella group Connect South was on the verge of collapse, and that it would withdraw from managing the Moray Pl building from January 1.

Community House management committee chairwoman Debbie Webster, also manager of the Disability Information Service, said some people had become confused by the situation and were worried that they would not be able to access the social agencies.

“We want to reassure people that all of the 19 agencies who are tenants of Community House are up and running as usual,” Ms Webster said.

Newly formed agency Weave Together had taken over the management contract on an interim basis, meaning little had changed for visitors.

“People are able to access advice, come in for appointments and book meeting rooms as normal.

“It is business as usual at Community House – we are as strong as ever.”

The withdrawal of Connect South from providing front office and building management at the 301 Moray Pl building after 17 years meant there was now an opportunity for a review.

The Community House tenants had been surveyed on how they would like the building to be managed from now on, and what services they would like prioritised.

A new management contract would be awarded at the end of February, Ms Webster said.

Management committee vice-chairwoman and Alzheimers Otago manager Julie Butler said the social agencies had come together in support of each other during the past couple of months.

“That collegial support is very important for community organisations like ours, especially smaller organisations where you can find yourself working in isolation,” Mrs Butler said.

“When you are dealing with people’s lives, it is vital to have that support network.”

Management committee member and Citizens Advice Bureau manager Dianne Lowry said having a range of organisations together in one building also made it easy to make referrals, ensuring that people received timely support.

Dunedin Community House has a new email address, info@dch.org.nz, and a new website, dch.org.nz.

Interim house manager Rob Tigeir, a Weave Together partner, urged people to call or pop in and have a chat if they had questions.