Ther­apy classes get vi­tal fund­ing

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

A high-de­mand ther­a­putic dance pro­gramme for dis­abled chil­dren has re­ceived crit­i­cal fund­ing that will en­able it to keep run­ning for the next six months.

The YMCA Stars pro­gramme is run in con­junc­tion with Dance Ther­apy New Zealand and takes place weekly at the Mt Al­bert Com­mu­nity Cen­tre.

Par­ents have to pay an en­rol­ment fee for their chil­dren but it is heav­ily sub­sidised by the YMCA.

Com­mu­nity devel­op­ment man­ager Kev Carter says that with­out a $5000 grant re­ceived from the Auck­land Coun­cil Cre­ative Com­mu­nity the pro­gramme would cease to ex­ist.

‘‘Be­cause it’s a spe­cialised pro­gramme the tu­tors are ex­pen­sive and we keep the classes quite small. So it’s an ex­pen­sive pro­gramme to run.’’

It is the first time they have re­ceived the grant which will help the pro­gramme sur­vive for the next six months while they scram­ble for more fund­ing.

Mr Carter says of­ten they won’t re­ceive fund­ing from the same place twice in a row.

‘‘So we have to spread our wings quite a bit,’’ he says.

The pro­gramme was ini­tially de­signed for autis­tic chil­dren but due to its suc­cess op­por­tu­ni­ties have opened up for chil­dren with other dis­abil­i­ties to take part.

The classes are capped at 20 stu­dents, and are al­ways full to the brim.

Arts ther­a­pist Anaia Treefoot leads the pro- gramme and says it is a great ini­tia­tive.

‘‘Ba­si­cally, we iden­ti­fied a need that wasn’t be­ing met and the pro­gramme has con­tin­ued to grow from there. Now we have par­ents com­ing from as far as Cleve­don and Whanga­paraoa so their kids can par­tic­i­pate.’’

They com­bine cre­ative ex­pres­sion with skill devel­op­ment and ac­tiv­i­ties dif­fer de­pend­ing on age level.

Mr Carter says it gives the chil­dren a chance to im­prove their so­cial skills.

‘‘The pro­gramme also cre­ates an in­for­mal so­cial net­work for par­ents too, whereby they can share in­for­ma­tion, get ad­vice and turn to other par­ents for emo­tional sup­port.’’

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