Help for single parent families

by Kent Caddick

With the fast pace of Selwyn’s growth gaps have appeared in the provision of social services in the district and the Birthright Canterbury Trust is stepping up to fill one of them.

The lack of support for one-parent families is one of the biggest gaps in the district. There are more than 1,000 one-parent households in Selwyn and currently no social services supporting those parents, caregivers and their children.

“We are very pleased to offer a Drop In Programme for One Parent families at Rolleston Community House,” Birthright Canterbury Trust manager, Rhodora Sagles said.

“This is a pilot project of six months started in July and is supported by the Selwyn District Council.”

She said studies show that the children of one-parent families are some of the most vulnerable children in our society.

“Social Policy Evaluation Research Unit (SUPERU) has shown that one-parent families are considerably behind other family types on income, secondary qualifications, mental health, housing and employment.”

Ms Sagles said the Drop In Programme for One Parent families is a new initiative to respond to the growing needs of one parent.

“The Drop In Programme is a safe and welcoming place for single parents, where they can have a cuppa with the company of other single parents and have a chat with a Birthright staff member.

“The aim is to break isolation and for the parents to reach out, talk about concerns affecting them and their children.”

Funding was secured from Vodafone New Zealand Foundation allowing BCT to investigate the needs in developing this expansions of services. 

“The outcome of the surveys is to provide guidelines to matching the needs of one-parent families across the urban and rural environment of Selwyn and to ensure that any expansion of Birthright Canterbury Trust services matches the needs of one-parent families and is able to be delivered within the service delivery provision of Birthright.”

Ms Sagles said they were also successful with their application with COGS Rural.

“We are grateful to our funders Selwyn District Council, Vodafone Foundation and COGS Rural for their support for this work.”

Birthright has been supporting children in one-parent families for more than 50 years.

“The way we deliver services has changed over this time, but our focus has remained the same — to build nurtured, resilient and inspired children and families.

“We do this by working with families to plan for their own development; use their own and community resources; and to achieve integration into the community.

“Because of the varied nature of families, our services and practical assistance are tailored to suit them. This is in the context of their own aspirations and goals at a time and form relevant to them.

She said Birthright believes that all children have the right to a happy, secure and loving home environment.

“We specialise in working with families led by one person. Our goal is nurtured, resilient, inspired children and families.

Drop In Programme for One Parent families is open every second Thursday, from 10am to 2pm at Rolleston Community House, 95 Rolleston Drive, Rolleston.

If people want to know more how they can be involved with the Birthright’s services to one-parent families, please get in touch with Rhodora on 03 366 9456 or 022 043 5006 or by email office@birthrightcanterbury.org.nz.