The Loft - Changing the Future of Social Wellbeing

18th of December, 2018

It’s hard to believe that we opened the doors to The Loft, the home we share with 13 other social and community services, well over two years ago (4 July 2016). It has been an amazing whirlwind journey since then as The Loft has become an integral part of the social support system of Christchurch, particularly the eastern suburbs. We asked an external researcher to prepare a report for us on how our first two years of operation have gone for clients, staff, and the wider community. The results, and client comments such as “They played a part in something that has changed my life. Without them, I’d still be suffering” have confirmed that The Loft is changing and saving lives.

What people liked most about The Loft was the friendly, non-judgemental atmosphere, the range of supports received, from clothing, food and toiletries to advocacy and advice, and the ability to be connected and referred to other services. “They really opened my eyes and provided me with all my options. They didn’t just give me one option. They introduced me to lots of supports.”

It was a key goal of the partners in creating The Loft to make support seeking easier and less intimidating – and it’s working. As one client said, “If The Loft doesn’t know, they’ll find out for you. Others tell you to Google it.”

The positive approach and willingness to work through what support would be most beneficial for people was also very important to clients: “I felt it really useful in that, one, for the first time, I was being listened to – I WASN’T at fault.” 

Here’s a snapshot of where we are at after two years:

  • 13 social and community service providers are now represented at The Loft, supporting 300 visitors weekly
  • 600 families have received detailed Navigator assessment and referrals (70% of clients have children)
  • 20% of people walking in the door had their needs resolved immediately; 40% were referred internally; and 40% to external agencies
  • 95% of those surveyed felt well supported, with 89% reporting that they had a good or very good experience
  • 100% would recommend The Loft to others.

And they have been. Not only does this prove that The Loft is delivering on its purpose of enhancing outcomes for families and communities, but it demonstrates an empowering transition from ‘Victim’ to ‘Supporter’.

The evaluation will be available to read on The Loft (theloftchristchurch.org.nz) and Aviva (avivafamilies.org.nz) websites from 1 December.