Therapy classes get vital funding
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.’’