Christchurch schoolchildren to benefit from Red Cross grant
13 February 2013
Christchurch schoolchildren to benefit from $9.3 million Red Cross grant
New Zealand Red Cross has launched a new grant to support Christchurch schoolchildren experiencing earthquake-related challenges that impact on their health and wellbeing.
The Red Cross Christchurch Schoolchildren’s Grant is designed to help primary and secondary schoolchildren deal with earthquake-related anxiety, stress or behavioural problems and to assist those whose access to activities and resources has been limited by earthquake-related financial hardship. $9.3 million has been allocated to this grant.
School principals and teachers in Canterbury say they have noticed an increase in anxiety among children since the earthquakes, including behavioural problems among new entrant five-year-olds. “There’s a greater need for access to specialised counselling support. Solving problems becomes much more difficult due to the emotional and psychological state of those involved, both parents and children ,” says Canterbury Primary Principals Association representative Graeme Barber.
New Zealand Red Cross 2011 Earthquake Commission chair Sir John Hansen says Red Cross wants to make a positive difference to the lives of these children.
“We want to foster resilience, both for their own sakes and for the future of Christchurch. We’re partnering with schools to distribute this grant because they are uniquely placed to identify and respond to the challenges their students are facing, whether these be wellbeing or hardship related,” he says. The grant is open to more than 71,000 schoolchildren in Selwyn, Waimakariri and Christchurch city, and will be distributed through schools. It can only be used to provide resources and assistance directly to students and cannot be used for operational or capital costs such as teacher salaries, school fees, or school equipment.
It is envisaged the grant will be able to help children access things like counselling, school camps, field trips, group activities, uniforms, stationery and life skills programmes.
The grant uses a tiered funding system to target children who are less likely to have resources available to them to address earthquake-related needs. Students at decile 1,2 and 3 schools will be eligible for a grant of up to $240 per student. Students at decile 4,5,6 and 7 schools are eligible for a grant of up to $120 per student. And students at decile 8, 9 and 10 schools are eligible for a grant of up to $60 per student.
Individuals can not apply directly - applications must be made by schools. The president of the Canterbury Secondary Principals Association Neil Wilkinson says the Red Cross grant offers a large number of students who are still affected by the impact of the earthquakes a wide range of options.
“Schools are delighted with this grant – it’s fantastic. It says to the young people of Christchurch that their needs have not been forgotten and we just hope they take advantage of this opportunity,” he says. The New Zealand Red Cross Earthquake Appeal fund was established through the generosity of the New Zealand public and overseas donors to assist with earthquake relief and recovery.
To date $82m has been distributed in grants to 95,708 people.
The majority of the appeal funds have now been committed to existing grants and programmes, and $14M remains available for future projects.