Four charitable organisations got a boost last week.
On Thursday, Z Kaikohe presented the volunteer fire brigade, St John Ambulance Services, Victim Support and Kaikohe's Kick It Holiday Programme with their share of $5000 as voted by Z customers.
Kaikohe police youth development worker Wally Te Huia is involved in Kick It, the youth programme for kids on break from school in Kaikohe.
The programme, expanding to include children as young as 10 years old in the coming year, is based around sporting activities to motivate kids and to build leadership skills.
Muay Thai and taekwondo are both elements, as is table tennis, soft ball and cooking.
“It's about life skills, it's about leadership training, it's about bringing these kids to their potential,” he says.
“Bringing them to a stage to help them with their education."
“We're now coming into our third year, and you just don't see that in Kaikohe, programmes come and go,” Kick It volunteer Suzee Wingrove says.
In October, the children that started in the programme are returning as supervisors, a success, she says.
Mr Te Huia works with young offenders and he's seen one youth he worked with do his community work for the programme now and have his file closed.
“Now this young boy wants to come back and be part of the team,” he says.
The programme is, Mrs Wingrove admits, struggling for funding and they have reduced their operation to one week during the five annual school breaks.
She says it's been very rewarding for her personally though.
Where she once may have been viewed as an outsider, she is starting to gain some acceptance.
“It's also been a cultural thing, because the kids have come to see my brother and I, who are European, as leaders.”
Having a stable programme in place is key for Kaikohe youth Mr Te Huia says.
“The kids want to look forward to the next programme, or whatever's about, and if it's not there, it's due to funding.”
The programme costs $600 a week in food. The use of the park is free and all of the hours, except for Mr Te Huia's, are now volunteer hours.
The police see real benefit in the programme.
“It would be really nice if the community could buy into it,” he says.
And Mr Te Huia is seeing buy-in at a certain level. He is pleased to see some parents' interest.
“They'll drop them off and then they'll sit around for a while and just watch the kids participate in the activities - and we've got good kids there that are really good athletes that we want to climb to the next level.”
Mr Te Huia does help the majority of first timers there. And he says that the age reduction will help to increase the programme's numbers.
St John Ambulance's Peter Macauley said that the response from the volunteers who make up both the fire brigade and the ambulance service is an important part of the community, which is evident in the community's response to incidences like the recent daycare fire in town.
He said the money the service received was appreciated, and that maintaining their space was a challenge these days.
“It will come in very handy, it's sort of hand to mouth stuff a lot of the time,” Mr Macauley said.
Maintenance work for the site is ongoing. The painting and graffiti proofing was recently done and now the roof has been identified as needing work.
“St John is operating at a fairly significant loss these days, it's just this sort of support from the community that comes in very, very handy.”
Kick It received $900. The Kaikohe volunteer fire brigade received $1250. Victim Support received $850. Kaikohe's St John Ambulance Service was awarded the most at $1900. Leticia Allan from Z Energy says that the four groups will continue to receive support through fundraising efforts at their store.
- Northern News
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