A partnership formed between the Southern Wellbeing Trust and Ember Innovations will take the Trust to a new level in
supporting the wellbeing of the Queenstown Lakes community.
The Southern Wellbeing Trust was recently selected by Ember Innovations as one of two Kiwi organisations it would work
with to trial new ways of providing innovation support. The partnership will enable the Trust to tap into the expertise
of the Ember team as it refines the strategic direction, builds connections, and develops a peer-led workforce and
Ember Innovations is part of the Ember Korowai Takitini Group, an established provider of mental health, addictions, and
intellectual disabilities services for over 30 years.
Ember Innovations is focused on changing Aotearoa’s systems to better support wellbeing innovation. It does this by
working with, and learning from, innovators to improve the support, and connections they receive from our innovation and
health ecosystems. Ember Innovations is also bringing resource and energy to unmet needs, and advocating for a stronger
enabling environment for wellbeing innovation.
Anna Dorsey, General Manager and co-founder of the Southern Wellbeing Trust says her team is thrilled and humbled to be
"Being mentored by Ember Innovations and benefiting from their experience and connections will be invaluable in guiding
our work within our own community. It's a real opportunity for us to leverage off Ember’s learnings as a provider of
mental health services to ensure our organisation and approach is evidence-based, safe, robust and sustainable.
“Our goal is to work together to build capability within our community, using local skills and lived experience and
supporting each other through globally proven peer-led strategies.”
Fiona Natusch, General Manager of Ember Innovations, says that Southern Wellbeing Trust caught her team’s attention
through its systemic approach to community wellbeing that will evolve with the communities’ needs rather than providing
a singular solution.
“Ember Innovations is testing how our ecosystems can better support new wellbeing startups, and we’re excited to be
trialling a range of support options with SWT”
“We believe that part of the answer to meeting Aotearoa’s huge demand for mental wellbeing support is to catalyse the
growth of diverse community-based solutions, designed by people with a deep knowledge of their community’s needs. We
can’t wait to see the impact that SWT will deliver.”
Ember Innovations will soon welcome Taimi Allan as its Innovation Director/Tumu Whakarae. Taimi joins Ember Innovations
from Lived Experience leaders Changing Minds after six years as its respected and highly influential CEO. Taimi is known
for designing and delivering innovative peer-led and tech-first services and initiatives and is a strategic advocate for
people with lived experience. Taimi is currently an appointed member of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission of
Aotearoa and will be directly working with the Southern Wellbeing Trust leadership team.
A key priority for the partnership will be helping the Trust navigate the challenges of building its organisation,
including developing a funding strategy that supports a sustainable business model and secures appropriate funding.
Ember will also mentor those working in the Trust’s student placement programme who are researching peer support models
and workforces. The aim is to take the learnings from Ember’s experiences and see what could work within the Queenstown
Another area of mutual interest is effective impact measurement—a critical yet challenging component for most social
ventures. Ember Innovations is exploring how wellbeing initiatives, such as the Southern Wellbeing Trust, can utilise
different impact measurement techniques to maximise their value proposition and ensure they do no harm, especially
during early validation, without hindering the pace of innovation.
For more information about Ember Innovations visit https://www.emberinnovations.nz
. To find out more about the Southern Wellbeing Trust visit www.southernwellbeingtrust.org