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More Kiwi Kids Set to Benefit from Barnardos Helpline

More Kiwi Kids Set to Benefit from the Barnardos 0800 What’s Up Helpline

By Fleur Revell
25 August 2014

A New Zealand helpline for children and young people will be able to continue to help save lives thanks to a funding boost from Rinnai.

The company has signed up as a corporate sponsor for the Barnardos 0800 What’s Up service, New Zealand’s most accessed helpline for children and young people. The service is in high demand but unable to answer all calls it receives and in desperate need of funding to survive.

Barnardos has been providing early childhood education and social services for New Zealand children and their families for more than 40 years. Its not-for-profit helpline, 0800 What’s Up provides professional, free, confidential counselling for five to 18 year-olds, dealing with everything from bullying, abuse, self-harm and suicide attempts to relationship issues. Callers can speak to a regular counsellor each time they call, from 1-11pm, 365 days a year.

Managing Director at Rinnai NZ Ray Ferner says on average there are two calls per week to 0800 What’s Up where the young person who is calling is in serious and imminent danger. There are times when this service literally helps save lives.

Ferner says 0800 What’s Ups’ trained and supervised counsellors take immediate action to keep these children safe and to link them to the appropriate emergency services.

“Every child or young person should be able to access help when they need it and Barnardos is meeting that need. Rinnai wants to contribute to ensuring 0800 What’s Up can continue to offer this vital service,” says Ray Ferner.

“The aim of the service sits well with our own aim for excellence and our desire to create healthy home environments. We want to see future generations of New Zealanders receiving the help and support they need to enable them to overcome challenges, feel safe and excel in life,” he says.

“The work that Barnardos do is helping to ensure a brighter future for many children and young people and we are keen to support that with an ongoing commitment to the 0800 What’s Up helpline,” says Ferner.

Rinnai is encouraging other corporate organisations to also support 0800 What’s Up.

“We all have a part to play in ensuring our children and young people get the support they need to be able to thrive, and when it is as easy as getting on a computer and visiting a website (www.whatsup.co.nz/grown-ups/support-us), there is really no reason other businesses can’t help with the amazing cause” he says.

The manager of 0800 What’s Up, Rhonda Morrison says the generosity and support of organisations such as Rinnai is vital to the survival of the service.

“We currently have the capacity to answer only 40 per cent of the calls coming through and help from sponsors such as Rinnai means we will be able to communicate with many more children and young people in need of help and support.

“The service operates 365 days of the year and we rely on the support of our community and corporate partners to enable us to continue doing what we do – we’re very grateful to Rinnai,” she says.

Established in 2001, 0800 What’s Up has to date nearly answered 1.5 million calls, and last year helped more than 100,000 children and young people from throughout New Zealand.

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