Smiles all round at pro­gramme


Chil­dren from dif­fer­ent schools mix­ing and mak­ing new friends are pos­i­tive as­pects of the Southland District Coun­cil’s hol­i­day pro­gramme, its or­gan­iser says.

Ven­ture Southland is op­er­at­ing the pro­gramme in six towns - Win­ton, River­ton, Otau­tau, Wyn­d­ham, Te Anau and Lums­den - and on Ste­wart Is­land dur­ing the next three weeks. The pro­gramme kicked off at Win­ton’s Cen­tral Southland Col­lege on Mon­day un­der the guid­ance of Ven­ture Southland’s events op­er­a­tions co-or­di­na­tor Olivia Dean and four as­sis­tants.

Forty chil­dren at­tended.

‘‘In the first half hour, kids were walk­ing up to each other and say­ing, ‘which school are you from?’,’’ said Dean, who worked for Tourism New Zealand and op­er­ated a chil­dren’s fit­ness pro­gramme in Welling­ton be­fore mov­ing to Southland in Oc­to­ber.

She be­lieved some of the chil­dren would gain con­fi­dence at the hol­i­day pro­gramme.

‘‘They’re mak­ing new friends and that helps them go­ing back to school.’’

One of Dean’s as­sis­tants, Miguel Buick-Turn­bull, has worked on the pro­gramme for three or four years.

‘‘Some of the kids have been com­ing to the pro­gramme for as long as I have,’’ he said.

Buick-Turn­bull agreed with Dean that some shy chil­dren would be­come more out­go­ing as a re­sult of taking part.

Ly­dia Blom­feld, 12, lives in In­ver­cargill but is at­tend­ing the Win­ton pro­gramme while hol­i­day­ing with her grand­par­ents in the cen­tral Southland town.

Ly­dia is in her last year of el­i­gi­bil­ity for the pro­gramme, as it is for chil­dren aged 5 to 12.

‘‘I’ve been com­ing along since I was 6,’’ she said. ‘‘I’m meet­ing new peo­ple and it’s some­thing to do.’’

Kirsty Surynt watched her grand­daugh­ter, Sasha Jamieson, 6, take part in games on Mon­day.

‘‘The pro­gramme’s great ... all my kids have done it,’’ Surynt said. ‘‘They [chil­dren] get bored in the hol­i­days and it gives the par­ents a break.’’

The Win­ton (40 chil­dren) and Te Anau (70 chil­dren) pro­grammes are full but there is room for more chil­dren in the other towns in­volved in the pro­gramme.

The pro­gramme con­tin­ues on Tues­day (art and craft work) and Wed­nes­day (movies and quizzes).


Char­lie Ellis at the Southland District Coun­cil’s chil­dren’s hol­i­day pro­gramme at the Cen­tral Southland Col­lege in Win­ton on Mon­day.

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