Claire – Principal Advisor of Community Planning and Partnerships, Christchurch City Council
Claire has been involved with CRS almost since its inception. Claire used to work for the Canterbury Development Corporation at Christchurch City Council, where she managed the services unit with a focus on employment. In this role, she worked with NGOs and vulnerable communities that may not have high employment rates. She met CRS through a network known as the Refugee and Migrant Forum, now known as the Interagency Network for Refugee and Migrants (INFoRM). Claire’s current role is with the Christchurch City Council as Principal Advisor of Community Planning and Partnerships.
Claire says she appreciates the steady, professional, calm presence of CRS. “Unfortunately, we come together as a sector and a community often as a result of a disaster or a really pressing issue. But a highlight has been that constant assurance, advice and professionalism through the earthquakes, through Covid, and the 15th of March series.” Claire also loves seeing people who have gone through the agency as clients then go on to have careers with CRS.
“[CRS] are a pretty special organisation, they really are. Leadership and governance are the root of their success and I think the very people that they work for actually provide the spirit and the heart of the organisation.”
Throughout the years, Claire has learnt about the importance of kaupapa and sticking to your roots. “As an organisation you have to be really, really tight in what your fundamental values are and your essential reason for existing. CRS have continued to hold that really tight.”
In terms of funding, she says, “There are organisations in the city who you just know are trustworthy, will deliver, are providing an appropriate service at an appropriate time – and CRS have consistently been a priority one organisation for us on that basis.”
Reflecting on the 30th Anniversary, Claire wants to say to CRS, “It’s been hard work and there’s been tears at times and stress and organising, but I’d just say you are supported, and you are respected. You’re part of a broader team but you guys continue to lead and guide the sector through example, and that hasn’t gone unnoticed. The City Council in particular really appreciates the work that they’ve done over the last 30 years and we look forward to more years of support and working in collaboration.”