Cornerstone’s trained staff are here to help with after school care, but the numbers need to come up to preserve this vital programme

After school programme needs support

by Andy Bryenton

“Use it or possibly lose it” — that’s the message from the organisers of Dargaville’s after school and holiday programme, as dwindling numbers threaten its existence this year.

Cornerstone Children’s Services, who operate the programme each school day from 3pm to 6pm, say that without demand, there can be no supply. It would jeopardise the after-school care of those children currently enrolled in the programme, which looks after 5 to 13-year-olds whose parents are otherwise engaged with work after school hours. Cornerstone programme director Lorin Hona says that one of the big barriers appears to be a lack of knowledge about the programme and what it offers.

“We can help pick up kids from other schools to bring them to Dargaville Primary School for Cornerstone, where we provide a healthy afternoon snack and supervision. It’s not a totally structured environment like school itself, but we do offer fun activities, such as games, sports, baking, crafts and art. There’s even a homework club where kids can sort out homework questions before they get picked up by mum and dad.”

With many families now having both parents working, the after school programme, with its very low pricing to attend, was predicted to be over utilised. Instead, numbers are low, despite the ability for parents and caregivers to access a subsidy from the MSD.