Literacy, health and childhood development outcomes improve when babies are exposed to books.
Families with young babies in the Tairawhiti region have welcomed books in to their homes thanks to the Storytime Foundation’s Books for Babies programme.
Recently the programme extended in to the region and the first families to receive the books have been those in urban Gisborne with the greatest need.
Tony Culliney, chief executive of the Storytime Foundation said, “I am delighted that we have been able to bring the programme to the area. Gisborne and the East Coast have a high proportion of high need families with young children. The population is 44,500 of which 30% live in the rural district. Tairawhiti has the highest level of deprivation than any other district, with two thirds of the population (65%) living in decile 8-10.
“Soon after the launch in May, the first families with newborns were enrolled in Books for Babies and 10 families per month have been enrolled since. We expect to be enrolling, on average, 25 families per month in the first year and have applied for funding to support this number.”
Tony said Plunket was the first well child service to deliver the programme after Storytime had trained Plunket nurses and provided the initial books and enrolment forms. Following that tamariki ora nurses and kaiawhina in Gisborne and Te Puia Springs were trained.
Plunket Area Manager Sarah Mulcahy spoke at the launch event about the link between parents reading to their children and the positive health and development outcomes that are achieved as a result. She also talked about the benefits to Plunket of being involved in Books for Babies and how pleased they were to have the programme launched in Tairawhiti.
Tairawhiti District Health Board CEO Jim Green, praised the work of Storytime Foundation and commended Storytime Foundation’s collaborative approach.
Penguin NZ donated a large box of books which were given to families that attended the launch. The parents were delighted to have books to take home.
Tony said that Ngati Porou Hauora and Turanga Health, Maori tamariki ora providers, are now also on board and have commenced delivery of Books for Babies. So there is now coverage from Gisborne City to the top of the Coast.
The Tindall Foundation along with the Todd Foundation and Penguin Publishers have supported the programme.