New role for house chief 

Harriet Dixon

Harriet Dixon has left the Cambridge Community House.

She signed off in late January 20 and four days later started a new role as regional manager for Peke Waihanga, a specialist health provider focusing on helping people with prosthetic limbs.

“I wasn’t looking to move on, but this role popped up and I love a challenge,” she said last week.

“I’m learning a new field of expertise around artificial limbs and orthotics, managing teams and growing the organisation, skills I enjoy.  Peke Waihanga fits with my values and passion. It’s an organisation that works towards creating independence and helping people live productive lives.”

Peke Waihanga is also a good fit with the new disability ministry, she said.

Harriet resigned from CCH just before Christmas.  Her start three years earlier came at a time when the demand for counselling services was surging.  Adding a purpose-built block to accommodate that growing need was underway as were plans to increase the range of services to the community, and Harriet has helped steer both.

The new building provides additional space for CCH and other collaborative organisations, a new Whanau Support Service offers wrap-around support services to the community, and a new early intervention support service for males is helping combat the cycle of crime and family violence.

“That support programme has been identified as achieving such great outcomes that it will become part of the new family harm/violence programme approach nationally,” said Harriet. “It started at CCH, and I’m proud we helped pave the way for families to benefit from this across New Zealand.”

The Paataka Kai/Sharing Shed has been another success, providing a pantry-styled resource for the community, and an initiative to boost engagement with local schools – some of which focuses on reducing family harm and a newer initiative called Budgeting for Flatting for Year 13 students – is another triumph.

There are now two CCH vehicles doing home visits when needed: “It allows us to move away from the model of expecting everyone to come to us … we can build trust and help people feel safe.”

“We grew from a team of five and three volunteers when I started, to a team of 17 plus over 60 volunteers. I am very proud of them. The highlight for me is all the families I have worked with … seeing their success from the hard work they put in to reaching their goals.”

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