Blue blankets keeping families warm
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.