Some holiday programmes 'expensive'

GERMARI HERSELMAN
Last updated 08:03 09/01/2014

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Holiday programmes in Blenheim are plentiful during the summer holidays, but some parents say they are too costly.

Preschool children are less of a concern, as many preschools remain open during the school holidays.

Blenheim mum Julie Robinson works shifts and said she found it difficult to find affordable holiday care for her daughter.

"I don't really have an option as a shift worker with late hours," she said.

During holidays she usually takes her 8-year-old daughter to the Elim Church Super Kids holiday programme, but it was not on during the summer holidays, she said.

"They are affordable at only $10 from 9am to 1pm.

"I now rely on friends to help out while we are at work. My husband took a week's leave and so did I, but now we have to be back at work and other programmes are just too expensive, starting at $120 a week," Mrs Robinson said.

She said that Blenheim needed more options that were cheaper, especially for longer holidays like the December-January break.

Another Blenheim mum, Alice Mills, said she was relieved that her two boys could go back to Moreporks Preschool.

"It becomes difficult once they reach age 5, because when the schools close you need to pay wherever they go," she said.

Bread of Life OSCAR programme co-ordinator Colleen Elwood said their programme was booked well in advance and almost full.

"We run four holiday programmes in Blenheim at Springlands, Redwoodtown and Blenheim School for different age groups between 5 and 13 years," she said.

Single parents could qualify for a subsidy payment for costs of the school holiday programmes for up to 50 hours a week from Work and Income.

"Other parents get help from friends and families instead, but we hope programmes like ours would offer grandparents and caregivers a break too," Mrs Elwood said. "At capacity we can take 110 children but parents need to plan in advance to bring their children to us."

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- The Marlborough Express

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