After 31 years of The Salvation Army Oasis delivering programmes to prevent and minimise gambling harm, we have received notification from Te Whatu Ora that our services are no longer required.
The Salvation Army not only supports those impacted by gambling addiction, but advocates and speaks out against the harm gambling causes. Our statistics show that 44 percent of people accessing Salvation Army welfare services in South Auckland identified as being impacted by their own or someone else’s gambling. People in poverty, those who can least afford it, and Māori and Pasifika are particularly at risk.
The Salvation Army meets the needs of over 2000 people impacted by gambling harm every year through our counselling services and brief interventions across the wider Salvation Army and our local communities.
The health and wellbeing of our clients is our priority as we respectfully transition them to the successful provider, at the appropriate time and when Te Whatu Ora confirm dates.
We are also supporting our dedicated staff at this challenging time to find other appropriate work, including retention of experience in the sector if this is possible.
Concerns include a loss of experience, capacity and a strong unified voice in reducing gambling harm with the continued emergence of troubling trends such as the rise in online gambling and the push for online regulation which is likely to result in the growth of gambling opportunities, particularly at a time when more Kiwis are experiencing hardship due to challenging economic conditions.
Lt-Colonel Rod Carey says, “We are proud of the mahi that Oasis Reducing Gambling Harm Services have delivered since 1997. We are disappointed with how this news was communicated to The Salvation Army. This includes notification that Te Whatu Ora are expecting the contract to conclude on 31 Dec, leaving 30 staff demoralised and upset over the loss of their jobs, and the closure of a long-standing service at this challenging time.”
Despite this news, The Salvation Army continues to deliver on its mission of caring for people, transforming lives and reforming society.
The Salvation Army Territorial Media Officer, 021 945 337, email: firstname.lastname@example.org (The Media Officer responds to enquiries from media outlets and journalists. If you would like to donate, are in need of help, or have some other non-media-related enquiry, please call 0800 53 00 00.)