Our Way Southland News
The Strengthening Parenting in Southland Project
Posted on Wednesday 3 October 2012
The Strengthening Parenting in Southland project involves 24 government, health and community agencies in collaboration to develop a regional parenting strategy. At the heart of this project is the recognition of the multiple benefits which will accrue to the region when parents are better supported as citizens, ratepayers, employees and customers. The strategy seeks to increase general awareness of the importance of parenting to the health and wellbeing of the community, and to promote the coordinated delivery of services, information and support to families by central and local government and the business and community sectors.
The regional parenting strategy is being developed upon a solid base of evidence from Southland’s families. Between March and May 2012, the Centre for Research on Families and Children, University of Otago (http://www.otago.ac.nz/crcf/), and the Research Institute, Southern Institute of Technology (http://www.sit.ac.nz/pages/research/), interviewed 137 young Southlanders (ages 7-24) across the region. The children and young adults who took part in the focus groups were asked about their experiences of being raised/growing up in Southland, and on parenting and parental support.
Eight key findings highlighted both the benefits and challenges faced by young Southlanders in 2012:
- The children and young people were generally positive about growing up and living in Southland.
- The children and young people showed a strong sense of connectedness and belonging to their community and saw this as a positive feature of Southland.
- Sports and outdoor activities were important in the children and young people’s lives.
- The children and young people wanted more entertainment/recreational facilities and venues for them to socialise.
- Transport was an issue for many children, young people and their families, particularly when living in rural areas, and for working parents.
- Parenting was viewed as a difficult and challenging role.
- Children and young people thought that parents face lots of challenges – both in their parenting and from other stressors, particularly work and financial pressures.
- Children and young people wanted their parents to spend time with them, yet they were knew that it was hard for parents to balance their work and home life.
The suggestions given for the regional parenting strategy provide guidance for the central and local government and business and community sectors on how each sector can support children, parents and families in Southland:
- More family-orientated facilities and activities.
- More programmes for children.
- More parent support and education.
- Support for those needing help with alcohol and drug abuse.
- Help for families in financial need.
Open Parenting in Southland Focus Group Report (798KB PDF)
Strengthening Parenting in Southland - a multi-agency project
Posted on Wednesday 9 November 2011
Strengthening Parenting in Southland is a regional parenting project, which involves 24 locally-based community and volunteer and central government agencies working together to develop a regional parenting strategy and associated regional charter for children (ages 0-24).
The Centre for Research on Children and Families at University of Otago (http://www.otago.ac.nz/crcf/) was contracted in 2011 to develop a specific parent and caregiver-focussed questionnaire based on the collective ideas of the Focus Group. The questions were designed to find out the opinions of parents and caregivers about the availability of support and resources, key concerns about parenting, the current pressures on families, and how the community can better strengthen families across Southland.
Throughout September 2011, Versus Research of Hamilton (http://www.versus.co.nz/page/5-Home) surveyed 753 parents and caregivers across Southland – 700 randomised interviews by landline, 10 on-line completions, and the remainder by assisted face to face surveys with ‘at risk’ families. The face to face survey completions were undertaken with the assistance of those Southland based agencies involved with the Strengthening Parenting in Southland project.
Parenting in Southland – Research Report October 2011
The results of this research work which were released on 1 November included the following recommendations:
- Build on the positive aspects of parenting in the region through local and regional strategies which consider how parents can be supported.
- Ensure ‘grass roots’ support is available for all parents in the region.
- Provide support for parents through collaborations with school, early childhood education centres and childcare centres.
- Develop support systems and information packages specifically for fathers.
- Ensure those in remote areas can access parenting support services and that communication between service providers and clients is clear.
- Explore ways to identify and provide support parents experiencing high levels of stress.
- Identify ways in which to support those struggling with financial pressures.
- Investigate ways to support teenagers and parents of teenagers.
Research Project – capturing the voices of children and young adults
The next phase of the research work will be focus groups of parents/caregivers and children and young adults, which be coordinated by the Centre for Research on Children and Families, University of Otago. The focus group work will examine in greater detail key issues identified during the telephone/internet survey work, and will be undertaken from November 2011. The final results of the research work with parents/caregivers, children, young adults, and agencies will form the basis of the regional parenting strategy which will be developed from February 2012.
Open Parenting in Southland Research Report (2.7MB PDF)
Quality of Life Report
Posted on Tuesday 14 September 2010
Our Way Southland commissioned a regional Quality of Life survey of 1,520 people to better gauge Southlanders’ perceptions of local and national social, economic and environmental conditions. The survey used
a questionnaire based on that used for the www.bigcities.govt.nz project, modified in order to better capture trends at a regional and local level, incorporate both rural and urban perspectives, and provide
baseline qualitative data for ongoing outcomes monitoring.
The results of the telephone survey, which was conducted in May 2010, indicated that 91% of Southlanders consider that they have a 'good' or 'extremely good' quality of life compared with the 90% of New
Zealanders surveyed for the New Zealand 12 Cities Quality of Life report. This key result reflected a trend across many indices measured.
Other key findings include:
- Southland residents are proud of, and connected to their communities
- Southlanders have a favourable work/ life balance
- Southlanders generally feel safe, and are trusting
- Southlanders are generally healthy
- Southlanders are satisfied with their leadership
- Southlanders are satisfied with the condition of their environment
- Southlanders feel there is some level of cultural diversity within the region
Open 2010 Southland Quality of Life Report (1.9MB PDF)
Regional Issues Identified at Leaders' Forum
Posted on Wednesday 11 November 2009
The Southland Leaders' Forum was held at the Kelvin Hotel in Invercargill, on 29 September 2009 and brought together leaders from central and local government agencies, the business and volunteer sectors. The forum discussed the findings of the Our Way Southland Community Outcomes Monitoring Report for 2005 - 2008, and collectively identified key issues and areas for collaborative action for Southland.
Approximately 110 people attended the forum. Attendees were split into groups based on Southland's seven Community Outcomes, with each group reporting a short-list of key issues for each outcome back to the Forum.
The forum concluded with each participant being asked to identify those issues of the greatest regional significance, and which might benefit from collaborative action. Participants had three votes each. The final short-list of regional issues, as voted by the Forum, was:
|Engage parents - parenting strategy
|Develop a leadership academy
|Ensure growth is managed so things we like are not lost
- early intervention/prevention
- get them involved in activities such as sport
Following on from the forum, the key regional issues for Southland are now being progressed as follows:
Southland Youth Forum 2010
Because of the strong youth focus of the issues identified at the Leaders' Forum, planning is now underway for a forum in 2010 where Southland youth can identify their issues of key concern.
Focus Groups and Action Plans
The issues of parenting and leadership will be studied by cross-sector focus groups which will soon be brought together to develop action plans and initiate collaborative projects for the benefit of Southland.
Southland's Community Outlook
Posted on Friday 28 August 2009
How well does Southland stack up?
The monitoring report for Southland's community outcomes from 2005 to 2008 has just been completed. From the facts and figures some interesting comparisons can be made.
Southland has maintained a low unemployment rate compared with the national average to August 2008, but the average hourly earnings and the average weekly income were consistently below the national average. Our life expectancy remains lower than national and OECD figures, although we are more likely to undertake physical activity over a week than other New Zealanders. In the Southland Region, 35.6% of those aged 15 and over had left school with no formal qualifications, 10.6% higher than the national average.
This report aims to provide a solid foundation for Councils, government agencies, Maori and the volunteer and business sectors to discuss and work together on Southland's future.
The monitoring report, covering regional and national trends from 2005-2008, has been compiled by Our Way Southland, a joint project between the region's four local authorities. Its purpose is to help make Southlanders' aspirations for their region a reality.
"We intend that this joint approach will create some discussion and really start to make things happen," says Community Outcomes Regional Coordinator Aaron Fox.
Seven broad outcomes were identified in August 2005 as a result of extensive community consultation. Councils now take their community's vision into account when setting programmes and activities, and the outcomes have been incorporated as guiding principles into each council's 10-year and Annual Plans.
The new report measures progress to date, providing a picture of how Southland stacks up against other regions and against national trends.
Dr Fox says "Looking back at how we as a region have measured up is important, but we now want to use this report as a step to move forward and get the community even more involved."
The next step will be a Leaders' Forum on 29 September to discuss the report, identify significant regional issues and develop an action plan to make further progress towards achieving the community's desired outcomes.
Copies of the report are available from the Community Outcomes Regional Coordinator based at Environment Southland, by calling 0800 768845 or from the reports page.
Posted on Thursday 20 August 2009
Welcome to the new Our Way Southland website. We invite you to return over the coming months
as the website will be expanded and updated. We welcome your feedback.