17 September 2020 at 9:10 am

John and his families story- Help Children in crisis find their feet

Thanks to our community, Cholmondeley has always been there to support at-risk children when a crisis like COVID-19 strikes.

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A new wave of COVID-19 has again impacted Aotearoa and Cholmondeley Children’s Centre is poised to support whānau in crisis. Already struggling families in Canterbury are currently dealing with distressing issues exacerbated by financial problems, social isolation, a lack of support, and mental and physical health challenges.

During and following lockdown, the donations we received helped us to alleviate the pressure on local whānau so that they could focus on their wellbeing. Your support has already made an instrumental difference for our region’s most vulnerable children and we cannot thank you enough. Unfortunately, we know that the pandemic will create long-term issues for many local whānau and Cholmondeley needs ongoing community support to continue providing a safe haven for Canterbury children.

Families like single dad John and his primary-aged daughter and son rely on Cholmondeley’s respite care and whānau support to overcome challenges like those presented by COVID-19. John has no family support and ongoing health issues which limit his ability to participate in activities with his children. During lockdown, his children’s schooling was affected and he is worried that they are now falling behind. With another hospital stay looming for John, the knowledge that Cholmondeley can provide a safe environment to care for his children and ensure they continue their education is a huge weight off his shoulders.

“I’ve got no-one else to help me. I’m on my own, I’m not young and I have had some long hospital stays. It’s been hard and the lockdown has made me worry about my children even more. I don’t know where I would be without Cholmondeley in my situation.”
John, single father of two.

Supporting children in crisis is the reason Cholmondeley was established. We are the only community-based respite care and education centre in Aotearoa, and one of just a few in the world! We’ve cared for children for more than 95 years in times of great need, through early flu pandemics, the Great Depression, the Canterbury earthquakes, the March 15 attacks and the recent COVID-19 lockdowns. We’ve always been ready to support tamariki who are most at-risk when a crisis strikes.

We provide children with experiences that enhance their resilience, focus on their strengths and grow their capability. Our specialised education programme is built on activities-based learning, exposing children to new experiences such as swimming, kayaking and gardening, where they can take chances and build their confidence. The skills children develop throughout their stays help to create positive shifts in their mindset which leads to an enhanced wellbeing. When families access respite they are also provided with connections to support services that alleviate stressors and empower whānau with tools for a more positive parenting experience and home life.

As COVID-19 continues to impact Aotearoa, we’re here to support Canterbury’s most at-risk children and their whānau.

John describes Cholmondeley’s support as an opportunity for his two children to experience new things while he recharges his batteries. He was nervous when he first entered our doors, but with no family in Christchurch following the death of his parents, John knew he needed help. He had been struggling on his own for two years before learning about Cholmondeley and the relief of knowing we are there for him has made a huge difference.

John’s children have been staying regularly since 2017, including for extended periods while John has been in hospital. Cholmondeley’s support ensures John’s children always have a safe place to stay where they can learn, have fun, experience new activities and be with familiar people they trust. “The kids love it, they just rave about it,” John says.

Our team are now planning ahead with John to ensure he does not need to worry about who is there to look after his children when he is faced with another hospital stay. “I know Cholmondeley are there to get me through the tough times. They do wonders for my kids,” he says.

We are incredibly proud to partner with people like you in our community to continue providing
a safe haven that creates a meaningful and enduring difference for every child and their
whānau. Thank you for playing such a crucial role in the lives of the local whānau we support.

Donate today