A project funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is helping to improve wellbeing outcomes for mothers in the rural settlement of Tapawera in the Tasman region.
The Tapawera Connect Trust has started a mothers' group to strengthen connectedness and build social resilience in the community.
The trust was set up using $20,000 from MPI's Rural Community Hubs programme fund to investigate initiatives to support the community.
MPI's director of rural communities and farming support, Nick Story, says the programme aims to empower isolated communities to tackle challenges they face.
"It can be difficult for new mothers living in rural communities. Their partners are often on-farm all day, or working long hours as contractors, and this can leave mums feeling isolated.
"It is vital measures exist to support the wellbeing of people in rural areas, or employers will find it difficult to attract and retain staff," he says.
Tapawera Community Trust coordinator Phoebe Quinlivan says the mothers' group has made a real difference for many women.
Prior to the group being established, new mothers in Tapawera had nowhere to meet unless they drove 45 minutes to Nelson.
"None of these women were connected before joining the group. Now, they have an additional safety net of support around them, should they need it, as well as other mums to run things past as they navigate the various ups and downs of motherhood," she says.
"Adult interaction is also really important for the mental wellbeing of mothers with babies and toddlers."
Following the success of the mothers' group, the Tapawera Connect Trust is working hard to identify other needs in the community.
"We sent 600 surveys out to local residents and are keen to engage with them about their ideas, and potential projects and initiatives to build community cohesiveness and social resilience," says Ms Quinlivan.
Several community workshops are being held this month and throughout February to encourage people to come together, be inspired, and brainstorm ideas.
"There has been strong interest in the workshops. We are running a couple of the food and wellbeing workshops twice due to the demand. None of this would have been possible without funding from the Ministry for Primary Industries and we are extremely grateful," she says.
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