By Farida Master
Did you know that there are more than 2500 social service providers in Auckland? Yet there are so many vulnerable people who are disenfranchised and don’t get linked, says Reverend Chris Barnard, minister at St Columba Presbyterian Church, Botany.
A former Minister of Religion at Whakatane Presbyterian Church, Rev Barnard moved to east Auckland eight months ago and is excited about hosting a Children’s Day Expo and Fun Fest on Saturday March 7, a community focussed event that serves not just Christians but the community at large.
“There will be an abundance of fun and food, carnival rides and performances by dance groups. We want to invite families from all walks of life from Howick and the wider Manukau area,” he says.
Passionate about reaching out to the wider community, the main aim of the community event is to celebrate children and focus on their wellbeing.
“We particularly want to focus on the vulnerability of all children in our area. Statistics show that many of our children are just surviving instead of thriving,” says Rev Barnard, also a former headmaster and founder of a college in South Africa.
“There are many social service providers and agencies in Auckland eagerly wanting to help families and children to thrive, however many of our whanau and children are living on the margins because they don’t know how or where to access help and support in hard times.”
This is not just about those living under the breadline but for the growing young New Zealanders battling with psychological distress, says Rev Barnard.
The aim of the Children’s Day Expo and Fun Fest is to connect people with social service providers so that those with the right skills and resources can help make life better for children and families.
The event invites Social Service Providers and agencies to come and display their services, skills and resources.
“We have designed a treasure hunt which will encourage ever family/child to connect and engage with every stall holder. Each service provider will be given tokens which can be handed to the child/family once the social service provider is satisfied that they had made their service adequately known to the enquirer,” says Rev Barnard.
Children with the required number of tokens will qualify to register their name in the draw to win a prize.
If you are interested in participating, please register your interest with Debbie@stcolumba.org.nz
Children’s Day Expo March 7, 3.30-7.30pm