Haven for first-time mums

Last updated 07:34 12/02/2013
Southland Times photo
LAURA ROOZENDAAL/Fairfax NZ
Kaitangata's Gladys, left, and Rebecca Heperi have started the Templeview Charitable Trust, which will provide support for single, first-time pregnant woman in need or of limited means.

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Single mothers in need will be able to get help thanks to a Kaitangata trust.

Kaitangata's Rebecca and Gladys Heperi have started the Templeview Charitable Trust at the old Kaitangata Hospital.

Gladys and Oliver Heperi bought the old hospital in 1984 because it had a separate cottage, where their ailing daughter Temple could move into and live independently.

Temple died before she could completely move in and the name Templeview is in her honour.

Rebecca said the idea of the trust was to support single, first-time pregnant women in need and/or of limited means.

"The purpose is to provide educational opportunities and basic training in preparation for parenthood. In-house programmes will be readily available based on the regular activities of daily living."

When the hospital building has been bought up to an acceptable level of repair it will be able to house up to five women. Rebecca said she thought the house would be ready for the first mothers in about four years.

The aim was to provide a safe environment for the mothers, where other organisations could also work with them.

"The majority of the women that will come here, I am assuming, will be younger mothers, " she said.

"They will be here anywhere from the time they find out they're pregnant to about six months postnatal, depending on the individual. While they're in here we want to introduce them into the boring, mundane activities of getting in to the routine of getting up, running a household."

The mothers will also be involved in the trust's other projects, including the Kai Patch Project, which will involve establishing a sustainable vegetable garden and maintaining it. Another project, called Stepping Stones, will focus on preparing for parenthood and other topics like healthy relationships, life skills and health.

Rebecca said the Templeview work was a continuation of Gladys' work as a foster carer.

"Mum's looked after foster children for about 30 years. They've all since grown up and moved away but still come home and visit."

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- The Southland Times

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