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Devt Trust helps school anti-drug programme


Development Trust helps sustain school drug prevention programme

A $20,000 grant from The West Coast Development Trust will ensure a full-time D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) West Coast Co-ordinator can be employed full time during the school year.

D.A.R.E. is a national foundation which operates in partnership between Police and community-based Boards of Trustees. It delivers six prevention-oriented education programmes for West Coast children, including, ‘Dare to make a Choice’ (targeting 1000 year 5 & 6 and 7 & 8 students), ‘Dare to make a Change’ (for at risk kids) and ‘Dare to support your Kids’ (targeting parents and caregivers).

However in recent years, the increasing workload of local Police Education Officers means they no longer have time to co-ordinate and implement D.A.R.E programmes available.

“Police Education Officers have to look after many programmes of which D.A.R.E. is only one. We can no longer give it the attention it needs,” says Police Education Officer Jos Sturkenboom of the Greymouth Police.

On top of this, D.A.R.E.’s National Foundation is unable to source another major corporate sponsor for funding.

He says other regions have full-time D.A.R.E co-ordinators but at the time it applied to the West Coast Development Trust, D.A.R.E West Coast only had sufficient funds to employ a person for 16 hours a week. The $20,000 grant will cover the additional costs of turning this into a full-time role and can cover associated costs, including those involved in training volunteers.

Other sponsors of this position are Lion Foundation, Solid Energy, C.O.G’s, Bill Blackadder Trust, Westland Dairy, T.Croft Ltd and CMP Kokiri.

Greymouth Police will continue to provide office space at their precinct as well as administrative support including a phone, photocopying facilities and staff time.

“The potential for drug abuse and violence in our society is increasing and the Development Trust’s view was that the region should be making a stand in our community to ensure we live in a healthier region - there will potentially be a greater cost to society if we do not act now,” says Mike Trousselot, Chief Executive of The West Coast Development Trust.

“One of the Development Trust’s high level goals is to facilitate community support and build positive community attitudes,” says Mike Trousselot. “In order to deliver on our core focus of sustainable economic development and sustainable employment on the West Coast, we need to find solutions for issues currently affecting our community.”

“It is notable that D.A.R.E.’s programmes are proactive rather than reactive. Also, that they have been evaluated and it’s been demonstrated they are of benefit to young people – these were important factors behind our decision to make this grant. We also took into account that The Ministry of Education does not contract community drug education providers and do not fund prevention-related programmes.”

A condition of The Development Trust grant is that the D.A.R.E. co-ordinator is responsible for raising additional funds, ensuring their role can be sustained long-term. It is hoped that as the value to the community is seen, D.A.R.E. will secure alternative and ongoing contributions from within the West Coast community, and from local and national funding organisations.

#ENDS

Frank Dooley passes the cheque for $20,000 to Frank King-Turner. Photo from left: Police Education Officer Jos Sturkenboom, D.A.R.E Chairman Frank King-Turner, WCDT Chairman Frank Dooley, WCDT Chief Executive Mike Trousselot.

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