Plunket services given $100K grant

Plans to extend Plunket’s volunteer-driven services in the South Island have been given a $100,000 boost.

A $100,000 grant from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) will be used on a range of initiatives over the next year, such as running playgroups, hosting coffee mornings and continuing its Give People Support service.

The latest grant brings total MPI funding to $207,000.

"Whanau Awhina Plunket is going that extra mile to ensure people living in remote rural areas can access their whanau support services," MPI director for rural communities and farming support Nick Story said.

"The regular opportunities for face-to-face contact make a big difference to the health and wellbeing of both parents and their children, and a mix of activities and support is available tailored for each region."

Support from MPI and other funders will ensure a variety of sessions are hosted across the South Island every week, along with delivery of training workshops and an injury prevention programme.

Whanau Awhina Plunket community service manager Jane Denley said the regular meet-ups included playgroups, parent support groups, coffee connection groups, a swim programme for young children, music and movement groups, a baby massage group and a mums’ exercise group.

In addition to face-to-face groups, people living rurally were able to access virtual educational sessions called Parenting Bites.

More than 10,000 parents, babies and children participated in Plunket’s Southern Rural Family Support Services each year, Ms Denley said.

"The groups are important because they offer parents the chance to meet others with similar circumstances, and to have honest discussions about what they are experiencing in a supportive and non-judgemental environment," she said.

The community services were open to anyone, not just those who had previously used Plunket.

Communities shaped the direction of their local programmes.

For example, in Winton, a whanau ropu had been formed for those who wanted a te reo Maori immersion opportunity for themselves and their tamariki.

Participants in the Kawakawa group in Kaikoura wanted to learn about baby CPR, choking and resuscitation, and so St John was invited to lead those sessions with parents and whanau.

Plunket was also planning new groups in Twizel, Tekapo and North Otago.

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