Family Works - A New Director

Family Works is one of the key parts of our mission at PSO. Family Works supports children, young people and their families to be safe, strong and connected. Its services include social work, foodbank, emergency response, financial mentoring, parenting support, youth development and community development programmes.

Mahi a whanau kei te tautoko nga tamaiti, taiohi me te whanau o o ratou ki te ora, ki te kaha, te kotuitui ai hoki.

In September last year we said our farewells to Paul Hooper, Director of PSO’s Family Works. Paul came to Presbyterian Support Otago in 2005 from the Blind Foundation, and spent the next 14 years leading the Family Works team.  During Paul’s time as Director, he supported the growth of Family Works services both in Dunedin and the regions so Family Works could better address the needs of the wider community. 

Paul was also a key driver in some of the innovative ways our local agencies collaborate to address local and regional issues, which also raised the profile of Otago Family Works nationally.  Paul finished his role with us in November 2019 and has joined the Oranga Tamariki team as Service Broker for the lower South Island, helping our young people who experience major challenges to access the supports and resources they require. We wish Paul all the best in his new role and we are delighted to welcome Carmen Batchelor as the new Director of Family Works.

Carmen has 25 years of experience working in the social service sector. Before joining PSO she worked with the Ministry of Social Development for 14 years including 10 years as a Family Violence Response Co-ordinator which involved providing support to managers and all front-line staff. In her final years at MSD, Carmen held management roles, including Regional Practice Manager, and Service Centre Manager within the Dunedin Central Service Centre. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, and two Post Graduate Diplomas in Social Work.

Born and bred in Invercargill, Carmen came to Dunedin in 1990 as a university student and loved it so much that she has remained here ever since. Carmen’s mother’s family are of English and Scottish descent with strong Southern roots. Her father is Samoan-born and arrived in Invercargill in 1969 with his older sister and brothers. Carmen is very passionate about working with us all to live the vision of creating a ‘fair, just and caring community’.

“My focus for the next couple of months is to meet with all staff individually and collectively, to listen and learn all about what we do and how we can continue to work together as one team across all of PSO. I am 100% committed to ensuring we serve and deliver to our multiple communities outstanding care, compassion and hope, including pathways for a meaningful and sustainable future.”

 Nau mai, Carmen!