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Pilot programme gives solo mums a boost

Friday, July 27, 2018

A Sport Bay of Plenty pilot programme for solo mums has helped 12 women find the confidence, skills and self-esteem to chase their dreams.

The Puwaitanga pilot programme, held from late April to the end of June, incorporated a range of physical activities and skills sessions five days a week across an eight week period. The programme sought to provide single mothers with an opporunity to develop themselves, identifiy pathways to employment and education, and to connect with community.

Credit: George Novak BOP Times

Programme Facilitator Naomi Williams said several physical challenges throughout the programme helped the young mums build resilience and self-esteem.

“Sport has an incredible way of breaking down barriers to allow people to grow.

“Physical activities like a high ropes course, Zumba classes, regular walks up the Mount or kayaking empowered the women with self-confidence to tackle their fears head on and embrace the challenges they face in everyday life.”

In addition to the daily physical activities, the women also learnt news skills through workshops on time management, positive relationships, budgeting and career planning. The modules were tailored around any issues the women were facing in their personal lives such as transitioning kids into daycare or planning meals on a budget.

“We took a real big picture approach and tried to give them the tools and plant the seeds so they could grow themselves,” Williams explained.

By the end of the eight weeks several of the women were going on to study after realising they wanted further education to reach their end goals. Three women had also quit smoking and several reported improved fitness and healthier eating.

One of the biggest benefits, though, was the strong support network that formed amongst the women.

“For a lot of mums staying at home can be a very isolating experience, so one of the best things for these women was being able to socialise and not feel judged.”

Despite the programme coming to an end, the women continue to catch up or support each other through further study.

To find out about other Sport Bay of Plenty activities happening around the region visit sportbop.co.nz/whats-on, and keep your eye on the Sport Bay of Plenty website for the upcoming Spring Starter Series encouraging women to try a new sport or recreational activity.

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