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Te Puke Times - 2021-10-14

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Trust’s parenting programme helped

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Te Puke’s The Bright Vision Charitable Trust has been busy expanding its Ha¯pai Wha¯nau parenting programme, following an $8000 Bupa Community Grant. Nominated by former Bupa Village manager Brenda Littlejohn, Ha¯ pai Wha¯ nau supports families on their parenting journey, to help support mentally healthy and resilient children. Brenda had a personal connection with the charity, having spent four years knitting for them as part of her Knit and Knatter group. The programme offered two courses, Ha¯pai Mama — a course for expecting mothers, and Ha¯pai Pe¯pi — for parents of infants 0-12 months. The Bupa Community Grant enabled the charity to develop a third stage in the programme, Ha¯pai Nohinohi — for parents of children 1-4 years. “We wanted to develop something that would be super practical and provide some really good relational tools that parents can use right from having a new-born through to a teenager,” says childhood educator Wendy Wilson. The trust has spent the past few months working with child mental health and wellbeing specialist Judy Hunter to develop the curriculum for 10 webinar sessions, each an hour long. “We look closely at the ‘circle of security’ and how to make sure that you are meeting the needs on the circle, so children can develop a secure attachment with their parents,” she says. “We are also tackling some other meaty topics like resilience, what drives behaviours and strategies parents can use.” The goal of the programme is to help make mothering a “really positive experience”. “Once children start to develop their independence, parents can find it really challenging. So, with the right information they can learn to enjoy this age group and not fall victim to the culture of the ‘terrible twos’,” she says. “We want to make it a confident time where they can really enjoy mothering.” The course officially kicked off online on August 24, with 20 wha¯nau from the community joining in. “Without Bupa’s support we couldn’t have written the material because there is such a cost involved. If we didn’t have the money, then we couldn’t have spent the time developing the curriculum — so we are beyond grateful,” she says. The grant was one of five selected for Bupa New Zealand’s Community Grants programme, with a total of $33,000 in grants invested back into communities.

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