By the People For the People
A young Somali woman flashes a brilliant smile as she emerges from the advocacy interview room, delighted with the ongoing help she's receiving. Now the forms and formalities of Work and Income don't seem such a hurdle.
But it's not just immigrants or the poor and disadvantaged who show up at Wellington's People's Centre. Anyone can join for $2-50 a week and benefit from the Centre's wide range of inexpensive services: quality dental care, acupuncture, podiatry and homeopathy, to mention just a few.
'It's not only people living on the streets,' says Kay, one of the advocates, 'last week I advised a well-heeled Khandallah widow with a work-related problem'.
The non-profit Wellington's People's Centre was a response to the benefit cuts of the early nineties.
Now re-housed in a renovated building off Manners street owned by the Sisters of Compassion, the Centre still lobbies for the underprivileged and plans to push membership beyond a peak of 1600 to over 2000.
Spectrum's Jack Perkins spends a day at the centre created 'For The People By The People'.