Support For Young Mums When It Counts

Henderson-based, E Tipu E Rea Whānau Services provides support to young mums just when they need it most.

Becoming a new parent is a challenge at the best of times. And even more so during a lockdown and without whānau or a support network.

Although the charity focuses on young parents – matua taiohi, much of their work is supporting young mums. The average age of the mums the service works with is just 18. And often the young mum is coping on her own without the support of a partner, close family or whānau. It’s incredibly hard.

Practical help and support are mixed with advocacy and education to help young mums develop their confidence. Alongside parenting workshops, the group also offers support to new parents navigating housing, finances, education and more.

And now thanks to the Your West Support Fund and assistance from the Ministry for Women, E Tipu E Rea Whānau Services is looking to expand the support available.

It’s early days, but the charity is working with Te Arataki ki te Ao Marama Branch – Maori Women’s Welfare League to develop and deliver a mentoring programme. The aim is to partner young mums with an experienced wahine who supports them in their pregnancy and parenting journey.

‘We identified a need for a mentoring programme in our Māori and Pasifika communities,’ explains Cinnamon Whitlock, Chief Executive of E Tipu E Rea Whānau Services.

‘Our young mums often have poor relationships with their whānau and are facing the challenges of parenthood on their own. On top of that, they sometimes struggle with anxiety disorders, emotional trauma or mental distress.’

Although a mentoring programme has been on the charity’s wishlist for some time, identifying funding has been the stumbling block. The group already operates on a limited budget. And the impact of Covid-19 means funding is now even harder to come by.

‘We are very grateful for the $5,380 from the Your West Support Fund. It means that we can reach even more young mums in need within our community,’ says Cinnamon.

‘We want our mums to get involved in designing a mentoring programme that meets their needs. And we want to develop a sustainable programme that supports the long-term health and wellbeing of our mums, their pēpi and tamariki,’ she concludes.

E Tipu E Rea Whānau Services is one of over 100 community groups and organisations to benefit from the Your West Support Fund.

The initiative gives back $500,000 in short-term financial assistance to registered charities and incorporated societies, helping West Aucklanders during the pandemic. A full list of recipients is available on The Trusts website.

And for more information on E Tipu E Rea Whānau Services check out their website at etipuereaws.org.nz.