The Southern Trust has donated $50,000 towards the early intervention pilot programme which supports parents for the first crucial 1000 days of their baby’s life.
Southern Trust chief executive Karen Shea said the trust was excited to be involved with a forward-thinking and committed organisation which was making such a positive difference.
1000 Days Trust chairwoman Prue Halstead said the funding was a vote of confidence in the organisation’s work.
‘‘We’re appreciative of the support from Southern Trust, which will enable us to continue the programme and help additional families.’’
The 12-month pilot programme, launched in Invercargill in September, had received 40 referrals so far, with 12 adults staying in the residential facility and two returning for a second week, Ms Halstead said.
Some families had chosen to work with the team but not stay in the residence, she said.
The pilot had been extended because setting up the service and building relationships with referrers had taken longer than expected, she said. ‘‘Once people understood what we were doing, it changed overnight and referrals started to pour in.’’
It was hoped additional funding would be secured in the next few weeks to further extend the programme, and the trust was in discussion with central government and other agencies to develop a sustainable funding model to run the programme long-term, Ms Halstead said.
‘‘The main message for the community, both whanau and referrers, is that our doors are still open.’’
The Southland Express spoke to a family assisted by the trust.
The first-time mother and her family stayed in the residence twice, once to establish sleeping and feeding routines for her baby, and later to develop a parenting plan.
The mother, who did not want to be named, said the situation with her newborn had been very stressful and without support from the trust she probably would have moved back in with her parents.
‘‘It was getting pretty dire. We needed that outside help. [The 1000 Days Trust staff] are awesome — life savers really.’’
Everyone was getting more sleep, which had a flow-on effect, and things were a lot easier now, she said.