'It's listening to their story' - initiative gives helping hand to at-risk Southland families with babies

An innovative pilot scheme in Invercargill is helping new parents provide better lives for their babies - and, in turn, a better future for the community.

The 1000 Days Trust focuses on the idea that the first three years of an infant's life are crucial.

It has found that when relationships between parents and families are healthy, the baby's health follows suit.

Referred at-risk babies and their families spend a week living in the 1000 Days House with a team-member who helps them deal with their specific issues.

Specialist services covering everything from financial advice to psychological care are on hand if needed.

"True whanau ora, it's not about me, or the programme, or this whare. It's about the family that walks through the door, and it's listening to their story, it's being with that family," said community liaison Megan Pearson.

Jointly funded by government and community - it's the first holistic programme of its kind in New Zealand.

"For us it was around providing a space, a place where parents could be with their children learn about their children, without any of the outside influences that were causing them a lot of stress," said 1000 Days Trust chairwoman Prue Halstead.

Anyone who needs their help is welcome.

"One really touched my heart where a mum and dad had been written off by quite a few agencies saying that they weren't good enough parents, and this is a space that we could actually work with that family and give them confidence to be parents," said Ms Pearson.

The programme is still in its pilot stage, but the trust already thinks it should be everywhere.

"We think it's a very empowering form of help that these families, that the whole community can buy into," said Ms Halstead. 

The 1000 Days Trust focuses on the idea that the first three years of an infant's life are crucial. Source: 1 NEWS

MOST
POPULAR STORIES