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News

Posted on the: 3rd May, 2018

Giving Back

At Willard Home in Palmerston North, residents’ strong desire to give back to the community has inspired a whole host of projects.

Every Wednesday, for instance, the resident baking group whips up fudge, shortbread and all manner of sugary delights for parents, caregivers and children to enjoy at the Children’s Ward at Palmerston North Hospital.

“Stuff that keeps a little bit longer, like slices and biscuits, are really practical and delicious!” says home manager, Christine Tester.

Since June, several elders at the home have also been busy writing letters to pen pals from all over the region. Christine notes that volunteers get as much joy from the experience as do the residents.

“We have one pen pal who lives on a distant farm, so she wouldn’t be able to volunteer in person. But she is able to go to town to post her letter once a week. Another is an international student who is keen to meet the locals but doesn’t have the time to physically volunteer while studying.”

The two-way cycle of giving and receiving care is an important part of the Enliven philosophy, which aims to make sure elders have companionship, fun, variety, choice and meaningful activity in their lives.

“The opportunity to both give and receive care is important. It’s not all about asking for help and donations – the elders here are also contributing members of the community and are always looking for ways to give back.”

Apart from baked goods, residents also sell hand-made crafts and other items at their on-site shop, which has become quite the social hub for residents and volunteers.

“It’s amazing what you can learn from elders just by sitting and having a chat,” Christine says.

“They have all lived such interesting lives and it’s a privilege to hear them share their wisdom and knowledge.”

Posted on the: 3rd May, 2018

Cultural Competency Framework

Rātana Pā is a place where magical moments happen.

It was there that Family Works Central chose to launch its new Cultural Competency Framework in 2017.

The Framework will introduce staff to Māori customs, tikanga and language through a series of training resources, helping them to acquire the cultural capabilities they need to best serve Māori communities.

The launch brought together around 40 Presbyterian Support Central and Family Works team members and advisors from around the region.

Noting Rātana Pā’s significance to New Zealand’s religious and political history, CEO Chris Graham says the launch was “very special and quite spiritual.”

“It was a once-in a-lifetime experience and I’ve learned so much more about Māori culture and custom.”

Aside from hearing from speakers, the group sang and even slept together in the wharenui itself.

“The whole event was a lot of fun and it created such a welcoming learning environment,” says PSC Supporter Relations Advisor Margie Carter.

New staff will be introduced to the first training booklet, kete tuatahi, within three months of their employment. Kete tuarua (2) and kete tuatoru (3) will build on this knowledge base.

Posted on the: 3rd May, 2018

Donor profile: Amanda Shrapnell

When you choose to give regularly, you’re not just helping families and children in need, you’re also starting a conversation around the issues that matter, says Family Works Guardian Angel Amanda Shrapnell.

It was the harrowing story of a child victim of domestic abuse which first compelled Amanda, a former Presbyterian Support Central Fundraiser, to become a Guardian Angel.

“I started thinking about how scared the child must have been, how he must have feared for his mother’s safety, and most importantly, how much the whole family needed support,” she says.

“By giving to Family Works, I knew I’d be helping make sure support was there for families facing heart-breaking situations and that those services were robust and able to do what they set out to do.”

As a Guardian Angel, Amanda donates a regular amount each month, which comes straight out of her bank account. Her monthly gift to Family Works has prompted several conversations with her daughter about why she chooses to give.

“As a woman and as a mother, violence against women and children is a matter that really speaks to my heart and I feel privileged to be able to help those who are struggling to give their kids the start in life they deserve.

“I love being able to set a good example for my daughter too and help her understand that there are other children out there who are struggling, and who need the community to be there for them,” says Amanda.

If you would like to make a donation to Family Works or become a Guardian Angel, you can free call 0508 TO HELP or use the donation page of this website.

Posted on the: 25th November, 2017

Tailored help required to tackle family violence

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to family violence, says Family Works – Presbyterian Support Central’s social service arm that works to tackle the growing problem of family violence in New Zealand.

The message comes as New Zealand celebrates White Ribbon Day [Saturday 25 November 2017] – an international campaign is aimed at ending men’s violence against women.

“Domestic violence hurts children and adults in different and highly personal ways,” says Family Works Central practice development manager Nici Nixon.

“Most obviously it can hurt them physically, but it can be psychological in nature too – eating away at a person’s sense of self is just as damaging.”

Family Works believes to tackle family violence, communities and the agencies supporting people who have experienced family violence must place children at the centre and then focus on the whole whānau unit.

“That’s how we work, after all our vision is to make Aotearoa New Zealand the best place in the world to grow up,” says Nici

“A place where all children are safe, families and whānau are strong and communities are connected.”

In New Zealand, police are called out to a family violence incident every 5 ½ minutes and half of all homicides stem from family violence.

But Family Works believes their goal is achievable if the approach is flexible and individual to those involved.

“Each family’s challenges are unique and so they require individual, tailored approaches to put an end to violence in their homes.”

Nici says campaigns, like White Ribbon, are important because they get people talking about the sensitive topic.

“They  really help to start a conversation around family violence and bring the issue to the fore. We need to talk about it in helpful and constructive ways,” says Nici.

“Sadly, people who have experienced family violence, particularly children, can suffer further from the stigma that others attach to it.”

Some of the services Family Works offers as part of this approach include group support programmes for people who have experienced family violence , social work and advocacy, parenting education programmes, mentoring and counselling.

Family Works Central operates the evidence-based Te Ara Whānau, Family Solutions model when working with families and whānau facing significant and complex challenges, including family violence. This means the multi-disciplinary  Family Works Central team work with the family and whānau to work out what help and support is needed, and to build on existing strengths and resources. Support is usually intensive at first, reducing over time to match the needs of the whānau. 

Posted on the: 2nd November, 2017

Protecting children when parents separate

Increasingly families across the lower North Island are using mediation to settle childcare disputes, and it’s having a positive impact on tamariki (children).

The Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) service and Parenting through Separation course offered by Family Works were introduced in 2014 as part of the Family Justice Reforms. The service helps separating couples agree on childcare arrangements without the need to go to court.

The free Parenting through Separation courses, run by Family Works in partnership with Community Law, provide practical advice and information to help focus parents on the needs of their children. It helps parents understand how separation affects children, how to support them and how to communicate with the child’s other parent.

The Family Dispute Resolution mediation service involves separating parents meeting with a trained FDR mediator to discuss and make decisions about childcare arrangements and to draft make a parenting plan. The mediator ensures that everyone has a say and that decisions are focused on the needs of the children. The parenting plan can then be lodged with the Family Court.

The mediation process is different for every family, but it does provide parents with the tools to help them resolve any parenting disputes that may arise in the future. And best of all, it’s proving to be much less time consuming, costly and stressful for everyone, particularly the children.

As well as focusing the process and the decision-making on the children, where possible Family Works mediators will also ensure that children have a say in the decisions being made about them. This is done in a carefully managed way that protects the children from additional stress and upset.

The cost of mediation is set by the government at $448.50 for each parent, however low income families can qualify for further subsidies. The Parenting through Separation programme is free.

Family Works is the social services arm of Presbyterian Support Central. For more information about Family Works Family Dispute Resolution visit www.familydisputeservices.co.nz or call 0800 337 100.