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From left, Ian O'Loughlin, chairman of the health endowment funding committee of the Aoraki Foundation and Toni Smith, whanau worker for Family Works' family start programme. Holding one of the pepi pods and bedding that have been purchased using the $6000 grant from AF.

South Canterbury babies will be sleeping more safely thanks to a $6000 investment in Pepi-Pods and bedding.

The Aoraki Foundation’s health endowment fund gave the funds to Presbyterian Support’s Family Works programme, following a joint application from Family Works’ Family Start programme, in conjunction with Arowhenua Whanau Services.

The funds have been used to buy 21 plastic Pepi-Pods and 48 bedding packages, which include a sleep-safe mattress and merino blankets.

The ventilated Pepi-Pods provide a safer option for parents who choose to have their babies sleep in the same bed as them, or can serve as an alternative to a bassinet, and are a modern-day alternative to the traditional wahakura – flax sleeping pods.

The plan is to reuse the Pepi-Pods, but the bedding packages will be provided new to each family receiving support from the Family Start programme.

Family Start engages with families from pregnancy, and can take self-referrals or referrals from other providers such as Plunket, midwives, GPs, public health nurses and paediatricians.

Whanau workers visit families at home, and help families in the areas of child development and health, learning and relationships, and environment and safety.

Family Works manager Liz Nolan and Family Start whanau worker Toni Smith said the programme worked with parents, addressing the family’s needs and empowering and supporting them.

“There are families who haven’t had the opportunity to learn how to care for a child, and how to parent safely.”

against co-sleeping with their babies, some families would, and Pepi-Pods provided a safer way to do that.

Mr O’Loughlin said the health endowment fund was very pleased to be able to support the initiative, and it was hoped the fund would grow so even more could be done.

“The more we grow it, the more we can give, and we can support community initiatives such as this one.”

Where the money went

2017 South Canterbury Health Endowment Fund distributions

Accredited Visiting Services: $300 for cost of aged groups morning tea get-togethers.

Addiction Mental Health Peer Support:$3900 for grocery expenses for “Peer Support” morning tea meetings.

Fale Pasifica: $2600 for T-shirts, sneakers and promotional costs for the group’s Hullarific (traditional dance) classes.

Parent to Parent Greater Canterbury: $2000 towards a Timaru Siblings workshop.

Parkinson’s South Canterbury: $1500 towards exercise class costs.

Presbyterian Support South Canterbury:$6000 towards Pepi-Pods.

YMCA South Canterbury: $5000 towards the cost of bringing the successful resiliency tool kit into Mackenzie College.

TOTAL: $21,300

The South Canterbury Health Endowment Fund was established with the Aoraki Foundation following a donation by the South Canterbury District Health Board (SCDHB), with a view to supporting community health initiatives in the Aoraki region. Total funds granted: $100,000.