Empowering Families for Effective Communities Trust (EFFECT) Rotorua has been going for two years and received an $8,000 grant from the Rotorua Trust in its second year.
EFFECT Rotorua Trust delivers Supporting Parents Alongside Children’s Education (SPACE) in Rotorua under licence to the NZ SPACE Trust. SPACE supports mainly first time parents as they meet the challenges of having their first baby. EFFECT board member and SPACE Rotorua manager Lynn Benfell says initially the group was unable to get funding to run the programme, but continued on in a volunteer capacity, because those involved believed so much in the programme and the difference it made.
Rotorua Trust funding this year will help to assist full trained facilitators to deliver the programme, specifically designed to help first-time parents adjust to their new role. EFFECT Rotorua includes two trustees who have come through the SPACE programme, a Plunket nurse, Playcentre trained parents, an ECE teacher, an accountant, and an IT expert. The trustees also have excellent business, accounting and IT skills.
Lynn says communities previously gave greater support to firsttime parents. “We aim to help to provide assistance in a similar friendly and caring environment.”
EFFECT provides the programme at two venues –the Plunket rooms in Pukuatua Street and at the Koutu Playcentre.
The programme runs for a year and is based around weekly meetings in which first-time parents form a natural support group for each other as they continue their journey.
Qualified facilitators and other professionals lead discussion topics each week on relevant child development and parenting topics.
The new parents in the group also get to know others in the same situation, and are introduced to a range of equipment and activities appropriate for their babies’ development.
Plus they have fun and have opportunities to participate in craft activities.
“We would not have been able to continue without funding from the Rotorua Trust, because many people today need to be earning an income while at the same time doing something really worthwhile that makes a real difference,” Lynn says.
And the potential for the service is great, with about 900 babies born to first-time parents in Rotorua annually.
SPACE groups are incredible resources in themselves with parents coming from all sorts of backgrounds including teen parents, teachers and health professionals. Fifty per cent of those attending the programme in Rotorua identify as Maori.
Parents are able to talk about challenges they might be facing and know whatever is said will stay within the confines and security of their group.
For more information, contact Lynn Benfell at: Phone: (07) 357 4565 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org