Milton Community Unite to Transform Tamariki Wellbeing

19 Feb 2024

Media Release

A collaboration between community members, parents, schools, Barnardos Aotearoa, and local organisations has led to an exciting new initiative to support the wellbeing and potential of tamariki under 12 years old in Milton.

The Otago Community Trust is proud to announce funding of $454,631 over three years to Barnardos Aotearoa in collaboration with Milton Primary School and local service providers to support the school’s wider long-term Wellbeing Strategy. Specifically, the collaboration will deliver Barnardos’ Leap social work service at Milton Primary School, with the flexibility to serve the wider community and other local schools over time. The community recognised an urgent need and service gap for specialist support focused on the developmental, social, and emotional needs of primary school children within Milton. This new service will focus on identifying needs, building critical relationships between families and support services, improving accessibility to help, and providing tailored, wraparound support to meet the needs of each child.

The project is funded under the Trust’s Impact for Tamariki and Rangatahi fund, which seeds collaborative, community-led projects to create intergenerational change. The Trust recognised the potential that this community-driven initiative had for wide-reaching, long-term impact through early intervention to give children the best possible start.

Barnardos provides social support services to children and whānau in our communities facing tough times, including those who have experienced family violence, addiction, neglect and abuse, and those struggling with mental wellbeing.

Jo Harrison, Barnardos’ General Manager, Child & Family Services says, “By taking an early intervention, strengths-based approach, this pioneering initiative aims to have a direct positive impact on the lives of tamariki. It’s a unique way of finding solutions together as a proactive and caring community to better support families of children and break intergenerational cycles of poverty, violence, insecurity, and hardship. A social worker works with each family to develop a plan and a range of support that is unique to them and tailored to the needs of their tamariki.”

Jemma Adams Otago Community Trust Chief Executive says, “Milton Primary School has been working on its comprehensive wellbeing strategy for over 2 years now. Under the strategy, the school has looked holistically at wellbeing in a school setting and has implemented a number of strategies across the school environment. This initiative builds on that work to bring in a service that has the potential for wide-reaching, long-term impact in an area of high need.”

Working in partnership with families, Milton Primary’s Wellbeing Strategy aims to nurture Milton’s tamariki to grow into thriving, confident individuals. The service represents an exciting additional support focused solely on connecting vulnerable children aged 5-12 years old with vital help early on.

“This community-led initiative shows what can happen when a region comes together around our shared hope for tamariki”, said Milton Primary School Principal, Kaela McGregor.