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Collection success . . . Holding the collection buckets that netted $2500 for Family Works are (from left) Family Works' social worker Margaret Bruce, South Canterbury Rugby Football Union chief executive officer Craig Calder, and Family Works programme co-ordinator and Te Rito representative Kristina Wilson. PHOTO: CLAIRE ALLISON

by Claire Allison

South Canterbury rugby fans have done their bit to help children affected by family harm.

Collection buckets were passed around at the Heartland final between South Canterbury and Thames Valley, and at the South Canterbury Rugby Football Union’s (SCRFU) family day, raising $2000.

An additional $500 top-up from the union meant Family Works received a cheque for $2500 last week.

The money will be used to help reduce the waiting list for Family Works’ “Free to Be Me” programme for children affected by family harm.

Family Works programme co-ordinator and Te Rito representative Kristina Wilson said it was really important to be able to provide more hours for staff to deliver the programme. Family Works aimed to see children “within three months” but ideally it would be straight away.

The one-on-one programme helps children understand family harm, create a plan to stay safe, build self-esteem, and manage their own anger when the model is less than helpful.

“One-on-one means we can tailor the programme to that family’s issues, and that family’s needs.”

Ms Wilson said the organisation was conscious a bad time of the year – the lead-up to Christmas and beyond – was approaching.

SCRFU chief executive officer Craig Calder said supporting Family Works’ programmes fitted with the union’s “Stand Up” campaign.

Launched in May, the campaign has seen the union take a leadership role in the community to help stop family harm in the region. It has been supported by the New Zealand Rugby Football Union (NZRFU) and Te Rito, a local collective of Government departments and non-government organisations who work in the field of family harm.

“Te Rito has got a big job to do, and there are some passionate people in it. We’re just one small cog.”

“South Canterbury has to wake up, there’s a serious family harm problem in our community, and we have a role to play in communicating an anti-family harm message.”

Mr Calder said with children present at more than 69% of family harm incidents attended by Timaru police, the union was happy to support the Family Works’ programme.

Mr Calder said the NZRFU was looking at how it could replicate the campaign in other regions and other sporting codes were also looking at what role they could play.

“It’s been incredibly positive, and has started a whole lot of conversations.”