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How public generosity has helped communities during lockdown: Auckland Women's Centre.

When it was announced on Monday 23 March 2020 that New Zealand would be going into Level 4 lockdown in 48 hours' time, there were immediate concerns for Aotearoa’s most vulnerable communities.

Auckland Foundation established a Covid-19 Community Response Fund to direct funds, including public donations, to where there was the greatest immediate need in Tāmaki Makaurau.

With the health and wellbeing of those struggling most with the lockdown identified as a key priority, our initial focus has been to provide financial grants to community groups and charities operating in this spaces; foodbanks and food parcels for the elderly, the homeless, and whanau in need; mental health support; women and children at risk of violence; to name a few.

Thanks to the kindness and generosity of Aucklanders, vital funds have now been distributed to nine organisations so far - including the Auckland Women’s Centre, who have been able to continue supporting vulnerable women throughout the lockdown period.

Leonie Morris, AWC Manager, says staff have done their best to stay connected with those who need them.

"We’ve been working hard to make sure that we're here for our community in these difficult times. During the Covid-19 lockdown our staff worked in various environments - by themselves, with extended whānau, amongst babies and children, teenagers, cats and dogs - all doing their best to ensure their AWC projects continued to thrive."

"Women, particularly low-income women and women in marginalised communities, are bearing the brunt of the immediate Covid response burden. Women are over-represented in essential services, and are taking up more responsibility for childcare as well. All of this can add up to very stressful times. This was also a time when many women were feeling isolated and domestic violence increased."

"Thanks to the grant we received through Auckland Foundation, our Women’s Support Services Co-ordinator Ellie has been able to continue supporting women, offering information, advice, support and referrals for emergency housing, women’s refuge, child abuse reporting, abortion, and parenting crisis intervention. Ellie was also able to refer women with complex needs, including domestic and sexual violence, to the right services."

AWC has likewise been able to continue their Single Mums on Sundays group, with fortnightly Zooms. These calls have enabled the mums to stay connected as well as have the opportunity to offer support and chat about the difficulties of single parenting during lockdown.

As one member of the group said, “It really helps me feel less isolated as a single mum.”

The effects of Covid-19 will continue to impact Auckland's communities as they recover and rebuild resilience in the months ahead. If you are able to help, please consider making a donation to the Covid-19 Community Response Fund.

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Photo supplied: Ellie, AWC's Women’s Support Services Coordinator, working from home during lockdown.