8 May 2020
Award for Council’s child equity programme
A local government accolade for Rotorua Lakes Council’s child equity programme at Sunset School is testament to the commitment of all those who contributed to make a difference Mayor Steve Chadwick says.
The pilot project was designed to support tamariki living in deprivation and has received the Minister of Local Government’s Award for Innovation in Council/Community Relations from the NZ Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM). The category attracted a record 20 entries and was part of the 2020 McGredy Winder SOLGM Local Government Excellence Awards which were announced today [Friday 8 May].
The programme provides access to activities, services and experiences that enhance health and wellbeing and can have life-changing implications into adulthood.
“We want Rotorua to be a place for everyone and that means we need to address the barriers to full participation that exist for our most vulnerable. Every child matters and simple things can have a big impact, as the programme has shown and I think I think Rotorua can be very proud of this,” Mayor Chadwick says.
Research shows children living in poverty are disadvantaged in many ways, face a wide range of issues (poor health, substandard housing, inadequate nutrition), and miss out on activities and experiences (sport, school trips, music lessons) that can affect their ability to thrive into adulthood.
The mayor paid tribute to the commitment of Council staff, Sunset School, its wider community and other partner groups central to the success of the child equity programme.
“It was heartening to hear Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta describing this as exactly the sort of programme they had in mind when they re-introduced the wellbeings into the purpose of local government.
“This programme was driven by a need we saw to interrupt the poverty cycle and reduce inequities to limit associated long-term impacts and it is making a difference.”
Sunset School agreed to partner with Council to pilot the child equity programme and it has since grown into a group of schools and organisations taking collective action to improve outcomes for tamariki, with a particular focus on reducing the impacts of child poverty.
Rather than piloting delivery of a specific programme, the pilot explored the potential of accessing multiple opportunities through collaboration between community and stakeholders to achieve collective impact. Council partnered with the school to co-design a programme that was tailored to the needs of the school’s students and the local community. The programme has since grown into a collective group of organisations targeting services to make opportunities available to children who need them most.