Working alongside Marcus Ridge, the pair operate from Korowai Aroha and focus on people who’ve been referred to them from the health centre’s doctors and nurses, and from the Te Arawa Whānau Ora office.
Lorraine says some of the big issues for local whānau are housing, dealing with other agencies, employment, and school costs.
Food, clothing and furniture are always in high demand she says, and she and Marcus are increasingly seeing a need for blankets, especially in winter.
“Some of our homes, especially the older ones, are very cold. Often, these whānau are beneficiaries with children, but they’re not turning their heaters on because they can’t afford the power bill.
“You see a change in them when they step through our door. Their eyes light up, they’re eating and talking, and it’s so rewarding.”
And as a Whānau Ora paeārahi, she does her best to work with whānau to achieve their dreams and aspirations.
“If we can make that happen, at least we’ve made a change. We do what we can, including working with whānau and other organisations to find employment, housing, and further education.”
“Whānau come to us with different needs and different ways of perceiving things. When whānau reach that first step where they realise they can make a change, and what it looks like it. It may be small to them but it’s huge to us because they’ve actually made an attempt to change.”