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Recognising the challenges that parents face in raising their families, particularly in poorer socioeconomic areas, Linda Biggs launched Manurewa Parenting Hub (MPH) in 2008. The story since has been impressive: it became an incorporated society in 2011 and is now governed by an elected executive, with a staff of eight (includes six local residents).
School principals in Manurewa welcomed Linda’s initiative, and have provided classroom space from where MPH can reach out to help with positive parenting, healthy family relationships and encouraging involvement in children’s education. In the year to June 2013, MPH delivered 230 parenting sessions to 4500 parent attendees at Manurewa South, Randwick Park Primary, Weymouth Primary and Manurewa Central schools – an increase of 46% from the previous 12 months.
Commented Sana McPherson, mother of two and a Parent Trustee: “The hub has helped me health wise and taught me better cooking, which my family loves. I’ve learned ways to help my children with their homework and I share these with my neighbours.”
At The Tindall Foundation we know that the first three years of a child’s life are critical in determining long-term wellbeing and success. Through our donations to projects like MPH, we aim to support parents by giving them access to the skills they need to help their children in these early years.
Our three-year contribution of $163,750 has helped MPH to extend its reach, with one outcome the employment of a Community Services Coordinator. Linda, who is now MPH’s Manager, said that the additional employment hours “have allowed us to focus more on the governance, strategic direction and sustainability of the organisation.”
Parents facing family violence, mental health and financial problems are sometimes referred to Manurewa Parenting Hub by social services such as Women’s Refuge and the Citizens Advice Bureau, or by relatives and other parents. Here they find a community ready to support them with professional staff including Plunket and Public Health Nurse services, and services like a successful Return to the Workforce programme.
Most of all, there is a community of fellow parents ready to make them feel at home. Linda spoke of one parent referred because of domestic violence. “In previous years it would have been the staff that looked after her,” Linda recalled. “On this occasion it was clear that a fellow ‘HubSTAR’ needed support and this was provided by the other mums.”
As one of those mothers who stepped up to help said: “When you become a HubSTAR you are a HubSTAR 24/7 and do whatever is necessary to support others in the group.”
For more information contact:
Linda Biggs, Manager
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