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Contact helping Chch kids to a better future

8 March 2006

Contact helping Christchurch kids to a better future

Contact Energy is to sponsor Canterbury social support agency, the Family Help Trust, in its work to improve the lives of at-risk families in Christchurch.

The energy retailer will contribute $20,000 a year for three years towards the operating costs of the Trust.

Contact Chief Executive, David Hunt, says Contact saw the community-based Trust as an effective and practical way to help families in the greatest need.

“As a major energy retailer in Christchurch, we have chosen to support the Family Help Trust as it is a community initiative which makes a real difference to families facing severe hardship.

“The Trust provides practical assistance where it is needed most, strengthening families so that the children most at risk have a better chance in life,” he said.

Chair of the Trust, Sally Thompson, has welcomed Contact as a sponsor.

“We’re delighted to have Contact on board as a funder. Thanks to their support, we can continue to effectively help families break the cycle of dysfunction. We basically could not do what we do without the financial support of organisations like Contact. And this support is substantial and very much welcomed.

“The Family Help Trust has had 15 years’ experience breaking the cycle for at-risk children in high risk families., Our focus is on getting in as early at possible with families most in need. Our aim is to prevent child abuse and to break the cycle of dysfunction and hardship for the next generation,” she said.

The Family Help Trust has successfully worked with more than 500 high-risk families and more than 1,000 at-risk children over recent years and Sally Thompson says this support is not only welcomed because it is needed financially but is also an endorsement of the work the Trust does.

“What’s different about our programmes is that they are independently evaluated, are home-based, intensive and long term. They can start before the child is born - while the mother is pregnant – and continue until the child begins school.”

The Family Help Trust social work team assist, advise, teach and support families to address a wide range of difficulties such as substance abuse, anti-social behaviours, inadequate or abusive parenting, home management, child health, budgeting and self-esteem.

“To date, our programmes have been effective in reducing the level of violence towards children in the families we work with, and in reducing the level of involvement by Child Youth and Family Service,” said Mrs Thompson.

ENDS

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