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Concerns voiced over OUTline cutbacks

Sat 19 Sep 2009 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

Concerns are beginning to be voiced over the lack of financial support for the OUTline national counseling, support and advocacy service and its cutting back on staff and preparations to retrench services. OUTline, formerly Gay and Lesbian Welfare, which operates the country's only national glbt phone counseling and non-HIV national outreach and policy facility, announced yesterday it must scale back its operations after funding from outside the glbt community dried up and an appeal to glbt community goodwill drew little response. Genderbridge and Rainbow Youth have each voiced fears that an essential community service might be downgraded through lack of financial support. Genderbridge has worked closely with OUTline since 1996 and relies on OUTline to answer the GenderBridge Helpline "during the daytime hours that our volunteers are not available." Chair Jamie Veale believes scaling back OUTline will not only affect other glbt organisations but will also stifle an important glbt community voice. "It will be a great loss if the role of general manager is not maintained over this period of financial difficulty," says Rainbow Youth's Executive Director, Thomas Hamilton. "Surely the wider community must recognise the work this role has achieved and an avenue of financial assistance could be harnessed to help OUTLine NZ maintain its service?" That loss of OUTline's only full-time staff position is worrying lesbian event organiser and West Auckland Community Development Officer Cissy Rock  who fears that without a general manager "decades of hard work" will be lost and the service could easily "go off the rails." OUTline is not the first glbt community organisation to be hit by recession-generated funding woes. Body Positive Auckland has had to let two part-time staff go and last week Rainbow Youth said reduced spending on non-essentials appeared to be behind the slow ticket sales and subsequent cancellation of one if its 20th Anniversary celebration events.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Saturday, 19th September 2009 - 11:01pm

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