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Child equity programme proposed for Rotorua

Press Release – Rotorua Lakes Council

A proposed Rotorua child equity programme has potential to make a big difference by ensuring those living in deprivation can access local services, facilities and activities, says Mayor Steve Chadwick.Pānui pāpāho

8 November 2018

Child equity programme proposed for Rotorua

A proposed Rotorua child equity programme has potential to make a big difference by ensuring those living in deprivation can access local services, facilities and activities, says Mayor Steve Chadwick.

“We want Rotorua to be a place for everyone but that’s not currently the case for all in our community and we need to address the barriers to full participation that exist for our most vulnerable.

“Simple things can have a very big impact and this would be a proactive, preventive approach to breaking the poverty cycle and the long-term implications of that,” Mayor Chadwick says.

The proposed council-led programme aims to ensure local tamariki/children living in deprivation have access to extra-curricular activities and experiences which enhance health and wellbeing and can have life-changing implications into adulthood.

Sunset Primary has agreed to be the first school to work with Council to co-design a programme tailored to its students and community.

The proposal has today received support from Rotorua Lakes Council’s Strategy, Policy and Finance committee and will go to the Full Council for approval later this month.

“It was great to see the support for this around the committee table today,” Mayor Chadwick says.

“The need to address local child poverty was a theme of community conversations when we refreshed the district’s 2030 vision.

“There are some wonderful organisations in our community addressing basic needs, such as food, and Council contributes to that through community grants and partnerships. This proposal recognises the potentially life-changing benefits of children and their whanau participating in and being connected to their communities and the activities that are available.

“There is a cost to inequity, for both individuals and society, and there will be some very simple things that can be done to make a significant and tangible difference.

“The programme that is proposed aligns strongly with Rotorua’s 2030 Vision, with Council’s People Portfolio focus on ensuring ours is an inclusive community and with the Sustainable Living Strategy’s focus on community resilience, health and wellbeing. This programme would take a child and whanau-centred approach to co-designing programmes with the communities that will benefit.”

Sunset Primary School principal Niels Rasmussen also considers the proposed programme has “great potential”.

“This is a great way for the Fordlands community and the school and the council to bring together people and agencies to support and increase opportunities for the equity for our students and children.”

He says the key to the programme’s success will be working closely with the community.

“I’m really hopeful. If children are involved in [for example] a sports team and have success in that team, it breeds success in other areas like at school. It is so beneficial. I’m really excited about the way this programme can open doors across the board.”

How would this work?

Council would work with school communities, local iwi, government agencies the philanthropic and private sector groups to co-design a programme intended to ensure that all local tamariki have access to activities and experiences which enhance health and wellbeing through positive experiences and connections that can have life-changing results.

Part of the programme would focus on Council services, facilities and activities/vents to consider how barriers to access can be removed. A successful Hutt City model provides free access to public pools; free internet, book borrowing and printing at libraries and free transport for educational trips within the Wellington region. The Hutt City model also involves corporate and private partner contributions and putting in place mentors for children.

Facts about deprivation:

• 41% (4323) of Rotorua’s (10,389) 0-9 year olds live in areas with a deprivation rating of 9-10. These children are living in real material hardship and many are going without basic needs.

• 3 out of 5 tamariki living in poverty stay there for life.

• The majority are Māori.

• Barriers to access include financial, transport, technology and proper clothing.

Key outcomes of the proposed programme:

• Tamariki are able to participate in extra-curricular activities, sports and other positive experiences and are able to enjoy connectionsthat can make a life-changing difference into adulthood.

• Tamariki feel included and grow up with aspirations and opportunities that help break the poverty cycle.

Go to p13 of the Strategy, Policy and Finance Committee agenda to read the full report on this matter and see THIS LINK on Council’s website to view the slides relating to the presentation of the report.

The meeting was livestreamed and you can also access the recording of the meeting via the above link on Council’s website, or go directly to Council’s YouTube channel. The report on the proposed child equity programme was the first staff report on the agenda, following adoption of previous minutes.

[ENDS]

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