Waipā District Council has committed over $13,000 in funds for a counselling in schools programme.
The project is helmed by the Zion Church Trust and follows a 2019 pilot programme that offered counselling services to eight Te Awamutu primary students.
Zion applied to the council’s Community Recovery Fund so that more students could be supported. They asked for $23,000, or enough to support 23 students through 10 counselling sessions.
In 2020, Zion conducted a survey of schools in conjunction with Te Awamutu Primary. They found that 10 per cent, or 304 students, from 16 primary schools were referred to counselling services.
In their fund application they wrote, “we are seeking to engage more counsellors in our service as this would allow us to reach deeper into our community and serve more families and the needs of their children. Currently, we can only hope to meet 30-40 per cent of the assessed need.
“The flow-on influence of the uncertainty and instability brought on by Covid and lockdown continues to affect our children and their ability to cope with life and learning.” The council allocated $85,000 in recovery funds on Tuesday.
Zion was granted a partial funding of $13,093, enough to support 13 students.
The counselling project received praise from council members and was granted the most out of the recovery fund’s 23 applicants.
Councillor Roger Gordon was one of the project’s supporters.
“There is real a challenge for our youth in their individual circles, with what has happened with Covid,” he said.
Deputy mayor Liz Stolwyk also praised the project.
“When I think about the covid recovery and the impact that it has had on our community, the counselling in schools really resonates with me. I just see the need,” she said.
The project comes just months after Zion announced they were partnering with Habitat for Humanity to help build 40 affordable homes on Te Awamutu’s Racecourse Road.