School to benefit from initiative

Milton Primary School principal Kaela McGregor (left) and Project Bruce’s Kim Schiller have...
Milton Primary School principal Kaela McGregor (left) and Project Bruce’s Kim Schiller have helped develop a wellbeing strategy for the district. PHOTO: NICK BROOK
Milton Primary School has been given a wellbeing boost, starting a service described as a "pioneering initiative".

The Otago Community Trust in combination with the Barnardos Leap social work service is funding $454,631 over three years to work with Milton Primary School and local service providers to support the school’s wider long-term wellbeing strategy.

The collaboration will deliver the Barnardos’ Leap social work service at Milton Primary School, with the flexibility to serve the wider community and other local schools over time.

The school has been working on a comprehensive wellbeing strategy for more than two years.

The roll at Milton Primary School is about 100, and all pupils will be part of the new service.

School principal Kaela McGregor said the community came together to make the service happen.

"The service will provide flexible social services to children and their families at school or in their homes," she said.

A full-time social worker will be employed to support pupils and families, initially for three years but looking to expand to five years.

The social worker will support pupils in groups or individually at school or in their homes and provide support to the whole family.

The principal said the school had a strong community who cared about both young people and the families who were working hard to support them.

"There is a gap in the support available to children aged 5 to 12 years of age, so our hope is that by being proactive and providing a solution we reduce the stress on families and young people," she said.

"The social worker will provide a vital layer of support to help our Milton akonga to thrive and develop into the best version of themselves."

Barnardos child and family services general manager Jo Harrison said it was a pioneering and unique initiative.

"By taking an early-intervention, strengths-based approach, this pioneering initiative aims to have a direct positive impact on the lives of tamariki," she said.

Project Bruce was pleased to have been able to assist.

"When Kaela started the idea, she checked in to start brainstorming and I ended up joining the steering group," Project Bruce community development worker Kim Schiller said.

"That was a great group ... and we’re grateful for their help."