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Global recognition for project that improves kid's lives

Global recognition for project that improves the lives of kids in need

Through a wide range of learning, literacy, arts, sport, leisure and physical activity initiatives, Hutt City Council is having a dramatic impact on the lives of children from high-deprivation communities, and is now receiving international acclaim.

Because of ‘Northeast Kids’ success, Council has been selected as a finalist, out of 300 entries from 70 countries, in the Beyond Sport Global Awards. This is the first ever New Zealand initiative to become a finalist.

The awards recognise and promote the use of sport to solve social problems and strengthen communities, particularly those facing disadvantage. They are backed by UNICEF and Time Magazine and international icons including the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Olympian Michael Johnson and social rights campaigner Desmond Tutu. The awards have been running for nine years. Winners will be announced on 26 July at a prestigious event in New York.

Hutt City Council has deliberately focussed its efforts in its North Eastern communities, which have some of New Zealand’s highest levels of deprivation. In particular, Council aims to work with the community, schools and other partners to empower kids for a brighter future.

Some of the interventions delivered under Northeast Kids include:

- The new Walter Nash Community Centre - sports and community facility. The centre has seen a massive increase in participation and local pride. In just over 17 months it’s had over 1 million visits – mostly local kids

- 800 local kids possess ‘Magic Cards’ which, amongst other benefits gives them free swimming and access to indoor sports

- The Action Replay project has recycled sports gear to remove cost as a barrier to being active for around 1700 kids and their families

- At the cluster of local Taita schools, teachers are being resourced, supported and led in using sport as a context for learning- improving the engagement and achievement of their students. This was a partnership with Sport New Zealand that has seen a significant increase in student performance

- School holiday programmes for local vulnerable youth use sport to promote team building and promoting healthy activity.

Council General Manager Community Services Matt Reid says he is thrilled the work of Council and its partners is receiving such a high level of recognition. More thrilling is seeing the increased pride and participation of the local community.

“What really moves me is that we can see children’s engagement and ambitions on the rise – kids are seeing their true potential and dreaming towards brighter futures.

“When these kids go on to further education and or training or employment, families benefit, their communities benefit and the city benefits. This is why Council is involved in these projects.”

For many of the North East kids' initiatives, Council is partnered by Sport New Zealand, schools, corporates and very generous private individuals.

Matt Reid says that through working with our many partners and the community, we can make a really positive difference in one of New Zealand’s greatest challenges.

© Scoop Media

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