Blue blan­kets keep­ing fam­i­lies warm

Papakura Courier - - FRONT PAGE - NIGEL MOFFIET

Hun­dreds of south Auck­land stu­dents are keep­ing warm and snug thanks to a ‘‘blue blan­ket bo­nanza’’ do­na­tion.

Around 1700 blan­kets have been gifted to chil­dren as part of an ini­tia­tive called Koo­tu­i­tui ki Pa­pakura.

The three-year pi­lot pro­gramme is funded by the Mid­dle­more Foun­da­tion and tar­gets low-decile schools and homes in the area as part of an ef­fort to boost the ed­u­ca­tion and health of young peo­ple.

The blan­kets, with the help of re­tailer Bed Bath & Be­yond, were dropped off at Pa­pakura High School last Fri­day. From there they will be dis­trib­uted to ev­ery stu­dent within the area’s six schools tak­ing part.

Ed­mund Hil­lary, Red Hill, Park Es­tate, Pa­pakura Cen­tral and Kereru Park Cam­pus schools are also on board with the project.

Koo­tu­i­tui Trust ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer An­gela Gat­tung says the the ini­tia­tive is all about ‘‘im­prov­ing the ed­u­ca­tion and life out­comes’’ of chil­dren in Pa­pakura.

The blan­kets are part of a wider fo­cus on ‘‘look­ing at ways to make homes warmer and dryer’’.

Mid­dle­more Foun­da­tion spokesman David Ke­meys says the num­ber of blan­kets given out was a great re­sult thanks to pub­lic sup­port and pro­gramme spon­sors.

Pa­pakura High School prin­ci­pal John Rohs says he is ‘‘thrilled’’ with the do­na­tion.

‘‘The is­sue of be­ing warm in win­ter is a real is­sue for our com­mu­nity.

‘‘It’s fan­tas­tic our chil­dren will have this ex­tra warmth for the win­ter,’’ he says.

The pro­gramme was es­tab­lished in late 2015 and will run un­til 2018 at a cost of around $3 mil­lion.

There are three strands to the ini­tia­tive which in­cludes ed­u­ca­tion, health and homes.

Fund­ing also goes to­wards a team of school nurses and whanau sup­port work­ers who visit each school through­out the week. A full-time youth worker and reg­u­lar GP hours are also pro­vided at Pa­pakura High School.

Dig­i­tal learn­ing is also a fo­cus of the pro­gramme which al­lows par­ents to pur­chase Chrome­book com­put­ers for as lit­tle as $3.55 a week over three years.

This in­cludes learn­ing via teacher web­sites and stu­dent blogs. It also sets schools up with WiFi in­fra­struc­ture.

The aim is to roll out the pro­gramme across the coun­try if the pi­lot is suc­cess­ful.

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