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Helping Teen Mothers Gain Better Future

23 February 2005

Skycity Grant Helping Teen Mothers Gain Better Future

Young teenage mothers will be able to continue their secondary education at Auckland’s first Teen Parenting Unit, thanks to a SKYCITY Auckland Community Trust grant of nearly $20,000. In 2004, Auckland Girls’ Grammar School established a Teenage Parenting Unit (TPU) in Mt Eden enabling teenage parents from the Auckland Isthmus to continue with their schooling while their child is placed in an attached childcare centre. The grant was provided to equip the centre with furniture, whiteware and play equipment.

“Education gives people choices in life. Research has shown that establishing a strong bond between mother and child in those critical first five years is the best chance of creating a positive outlook for their future. The aim of this programme is to break the cycle of teenage pregnancy and get young mums back into the education system.

The grant from the SKYCITY Auckland Community Trust has helped us achieve this goal and also relieved the financial pressure we were under in setting this facility up,” says Robin Fraser, Further Change Charitable Trust.

The Teen Parenting Unit is the first to be established in Auckland and is one of 15 nationwide; the first being opened in Wellington 10 years ago. The TPU has a co-ordinator, head teacher and three part time teachers in the School. There are also four qualified staff, supported by a roster of volunteers, in the pre-school. Advertising for more staff in the pre-school is underway. The TPU is located in a renovated two-story house on the Auckland Girls’ Grammar School grounds. Currently, there are 20 young mums who spend the day studying, as they would in a regular secondary school environment, with time out during the day to visit their children in the preschool downstairs.

Jock Irvine, Chairperson SKYCITY Auckland Community Trust, says, “it’s so important initiatives that aim to provide education and a better future for our young people are encouraged and supported. The Trust is happy to play a leading role in funding the education of young mothers.” The SKYCITY Auckland Community Trust was established in 1996, to provide funds for community and charitable purposes. The Trust aims to help local and regional organisations carry out community assistance, focusing on projects related to health and education, tourism and entertainment, arts and culture.

Each year, the Trust invites applications for grants from a wide range of community and charitable organisations. Funds available for distributions are 2.5% of the net annual profit from SKYCITY Auckland Ltd or a minimum of $500,000 per annum.


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