It has been a real pleasure to work with both Carisbrook and Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Otepoti schools. The new pond water experiments have been progressing well, with some students beginning to see algae, and a clear idea of what prohibits its growth. Attendance and engagement from both schools has been fantastic, and the kids really enjoy themselves. Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Otepoti had a very enjoyable time at the planetarium, which was very interesting as we move into Matariki. The students were knowledgeable about the constellations, and were given the opportunity to identify some of them on the big projection. It also provided them with the opportunity to educate others on what Matariki is all about.
Carisbrook this week had their trip to the conservation laboratory at the Museum. This is a real favourite for most of the students, as they are able to get a behind the scenes look at some of the Museum's most special artefacts. The students were so very interested and had lots of questions. They were also very impressed as they were able to see the Falkland wolf up close and personal, one of only three taxidermy Falkland wolves in the world. Looking forward to sharing the children’s leanings with family and whanau in the coming weeks.
Client Support Service
A self-referral was received in February 2017 from a middle aged man who was looking for help and support to access respite care. Frank* was seeking support for himself but mainly his wife as she was his main caregiver. Kate* (his wife) had gone to the doctor who had advised her she needed to have a rest as she was near ‘burnout’ due to managing her husband’s high complex care needs, work and the running of the house. Kate had a small part time caregiving job to try and supplement their benefit to make ends meet. When she wasn’t caring for her husband she was working. Kate had no ‘down time’ for herself. They were struggling financially – this was new to them as they both had good jobs before Frank become sick with a debilitating illness. They were not sure if they were receiving all they were entitled to through Work and Income. This was also something the couple wanted support with from the Mission.
The couple had moved from the North Island in 2015 and were finding it hard to access the already allocated respite care. Frank was assessed in Auckland before he left and was granted respite care; however he was finding it difficult to access this through the NASC service once he had moved South. He was told he was only entitled to carer support. On meeting them both, it become evident he was a determined man whose goal was to be 100% well again. He was also his wife’s number one priority. They had made several attempts to access respite care and was becoming desperate as he was seeing the impact his care needs and life in general was having on his wife. Kate was feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and was losing hope in their situation.
By the time they made contact with the Mission, Frank was frustrated by the lack of support and care shown by the organisations around him, and the lack of willingness from the organisations to help him and his wife get the care they needed. While he was desperate for help, one of his first comments to the client support worker when she rang was ‘there’s no point in meeting if there’s nothing you can do for us’. He explained his situation and was happy to communicate via email and phone calls allowing the client support worker to follow up on the respite care assessment on his behalf. At a home visit with them they constructed an email to voice their frustration and feelings of not being heard and feeling like no-one cared about their situation. Once the email had been made to the appropriate organisation they began to see some positive progress. They were contacted not long after the email was sent and an appointment for a ‘face to face’ assessment was made. They wanted the client support worker to advocate for them at this meeting. The meeting proved to be very successful.
They have now moved to the city. Frank has just had his first use of respite care days and Kate has had some much needed ‘time out’ for herself without the worry of ‘who’s going to care for her husband’ and knowing he is in safe hands. They have both been along with the support of the client support worker to Work and Income and they are now receiving all their entitlements. This has increased their weekly budget by $100. Kate is overjoyed as they can now include meat in their budget. They are happy with the support they have received from the Mission and feel they now have everything they need to continue to work towards Frank’s rehabilitation goal to be 100%.
We have had a great month at Arahina and the new groups of children of similar age are now really working well. The children who have had difficulty making friends due to their challenging behaviours or poor social skills have lots of opportunities to interact with their peers with the support they need to make it successful. They learn that if you think about the other person’s feelings as well as your own, you can have the fun of playing co-operatively.
We have done a lot of social coaching around sharing, getting on with each other and how we treat each other at Arahina and believe it is really meaningful for the children. At the beginning of term, we sat with each group and asked them what they think the rules at Arahina should be and they came up with things like “Be kind to each other”, “Talking nicely”, “Respect the house”, “Have fun!” and “Sharing”. We made a fun poster for each group with their comments on it and each child put their name on it too, so we can stick it on the fridge just to remind each other what the rules are.
They are able to put these ideas into practice and we have noticed a big improvement in the ability to help each other, socialise appropriately and play co-operatively within each group.
The Hub has been busy with many coming for blankets and warm clothing as the cold winter weather sets in. We have now given away all our stock of warm bedding. The cooking class have been having shared Kai while waiting for their other dishes to finish cooking and so have been experimenting with different soup ingredients. They have tested out the Jerusalem artichokes grown in the Hub garden. While most weren’t familiar with these, they did make delicious soup which was a great accompaniment to the soda bread which uses very few ingredients and is quick and simple to make. This month has seen the start of the Breast Feeding Peer Supporters training funded by Well South. Bushie Calvert has been training volunteer supporters in Oamaru as well as in Dunedin. The training prepares volunteer Mums to support other Breast feeding Mums in the community.
Matariki Dinner happened on the 23 June, it was a lovely time for the parents and children. The numbers were down on last year due to it being a wet and cold night we estimate there were 70 people came to the event.
Hearing and vision testing of 4 year old children happened in the centre on the 23rd May. The Public health nurse is visiting once a month and it is nice to see parents starting to talk to her and they even will text her if they have a question.
Dinners in the centre are going well and the families who stay for dinner say it is making their lives easier when they come to pick the children up knowing that they have a full tummy and are ready for the trip home. Some children have to walk home so it gives them the energy to walk home happily. Some children have been asking their friends at centre to stay for dinner so I have had parents book a day so that their child can stay with their friends and enjoy dinner.