Stories from Christmas 2021 – Barnardos

Thank you, Milford Asset Management and Milford Foundation. Your combined support made such a difference for New Zealand tamariki and their whanau over the Christmas holiday period and beyond.

Your generous gift provided mountain bikes and helmets, kayaks (and accompanying life jackets), a PlayStation 5 console, and numerous clothing and gift vouchers.

One of the families you helped was Larissa’s. Larissa is raising her two grandchildren. In addition she also has a number of other family members living with her making it quite a full house. Her oldest grandchild, Ben, was heading to high school for the first time. He was going to need clothes and stationery. Larissa was worried about how she could afford to buy these items as it was going to be a very expensive for a family with limited resources. Your kindness provided gift vouchers so Ben could get what he needed for school. They may not be the most exciting of Christmas presents, but it really made a difference for this family.

The generosity of your gift meant that we were also able to provide support to the young people in Barnardos residential care, who are some of the most vulnerable children that we work with. Barnardos residences are able to provide care for children aged between 12 and 16, who have experienced trauma and when living at home is no longer an option.

Each specialist group home, or residential care facility, provides a caring and therapeutic setting for rangatahi using trauma informed care models. We wrap around these young people resilient teams of residential youth workers, social workers, and clinicians to try and help them effect change. This enables the implementation of a structured and planned care and intervention programmes for their current and future care.

These children have restricted access to contact with their whanau and many do not see their families at Christmas.

Thanks to your gift, we were able to purchase 10 mountain bikes and helmets for the young people residing in two of our specialist group homes in Auckland.

There was a lot of excitement around the arrival of these new bikes from the young people. Your bikes provided an opportunity for planned excursions as a group, with their caregiver, and a fun way to incorporate exercise into their regular routine. And for two young people who are preparing to transition from the residential home, use of a bike has provided an important first step towards independence and the ability to explore the community on their own.

You also made Christmas special for Christopher. He had been living at a Barnardos residential care facility for just over three years and was going back home. Christopher was excited to be going home to his parents and siblings again but also quite anxious about the move. Your support meant that Christopher could purchase a Christmas present for Mum, Dad and his two siblings to take home with him. Your gift also wrapped support around this family to support a smooth transition period for Christopher and his whanau. Your gift provided petrol vouchers and opportunities for the family to create some positive shared memories. Together they hired bikes and tried paddle boarding but the big highlight was being able to all go on a family camping trip.

Your donation also helped make Christmas special by providing whanau to be supported with grocery vouchers. Below are three examples of the difference your Christmas gift made.

Marcus is on ACC after a workplace accident. He lives with his partner, their two year old daughter and his two teenage sons from a previous relationship. For many reasons, not least the reduction in income, it has been a very hard year for the family. They’ve faced some serious challenges but have navigated through them well. Marcus is a humble man and a proud father who doesn’t always find it easy to ask for help. So when he confided in their social worker that Christmas is an ‘expensive’ time and would be a struggle to get through, it was really great to provide them with some vouchers to help with some of the extra costs.

Andrew is the sole parent and primary caregiver for Leo. He receives a Sole Parent Benefit and things are tight financially. The father and son don’t have any significant local family or community support and are new to the Intensive Wrap Around Service. Andrew was open and honest about his high stress and high anxiety with regards to Christmas. He wanted to make sure Leo gets to celebrate but he really can’t afford it. He approached WINZ for a food grant but was denied because they received assistance during lockdown. He’d also hoped to attend the Annual Community Christmas Dinner but unfortunately this was cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions. The food vouchers basically saved Christmas for this small family.

Susan has recently been given custody of her six-year old great-grandson Charlie. As you can imagine being a great-grandmother raising a young child is incredibly tough. As a pensioner she is on a restricted income and as such struggles to provide for Charlie. She had managed to save up a bit to get him some presents for Christmas. Your grocery voucher ensured they both got a special meal and a few extra treats too.

Thank you for making Christmas special for so many families across the country.

Your support beyond Christmas
One of the biggest challenges whanau across Aotearoa are currently facing is Omicron. The anxiety levels were already high before the cases became widespread, particularly amongst the communities in South Auckland. Families were worried about how they would manage when they need to stay home and isolate. They worried about how they would feed their children when they wouldn’t be able go to the supermarket as they didn’t have the means to order online and arrange for food to be delivered.

These concerns have now become the reality for so many as confirmed case numbers rise across the country and more people are needing to isolate at home.

Barnardos have been working closely with families to determine what practical support they need. In addition to delivery of groceries our response packs include specific symptomatic support – items like ice-blocks, paracetamol, lozenges, cleaning products as well as activities for entertaining the kids.
Plus our social workers are providing online parenting support so families can still receive the support they need whilst isolating at home.