Halswell Domain

Halswell Domain
View from the Model Engineers' site in the Halswell Domain

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Introducing the Open Home Foundation

Open Home Foundation is a Christian social service which provides home based social work and foster care for families who are struggling to provide safe care for their children. Our vision is that ‘every child in NZ will receive a depth of care that will bless them for the rest of their life’ – physically, emotionally and spiritually.

The organisation was established in 1977 by Ewen and Gillian Laurenson. Following their difficult experience in running a Social Welfare family home, they began to develop a network of Christian Foster families as an alternative for children and young people placed in Department of Social Welfare care.

The work began in the Laurenson's Johnsonville home with a small group of supporters and within a short period of time, it began to develop in other parts of New Zealand. In 1986, because of rapid growth, Open Home Foundation became a national organisation and both Ewen and Gillian were awarded the Queen's Service Medal for their service to Foster Care in New Zealand in 1995.

Families may need to be supported to safely care for their children for a number of reasons. Stress, mental health issues, domestic violence, drug & alcohol issues, homelessness, abuse & neglect and disability are just a few of the factors which can contribute to the breakdown of a family’s ability to provide adequate safe care for their children. In many instances the family simply needs to be supported to make the changes necessary in order to safely care for their children. Even with a high level of support however, there are times when it becomes necessary for children and young people to leave the care of their parents. Wherever possible this care is undertaken by kin. Where this is not possible foster care can be provided for a short time as respite or on a longer term or permanent basis if necessary.

Open Home Foundation believes that families, and preferably a child or young person’s own family or whanau, are the best place for a young person to grow. We therefore make every effort to place a child requiring foster care with a member of their own extended family before exploring any other options.

Since the earthquakes we have seen a significant rise (17%) in the numbers of children being referred for care and protection (Ministry of Social Development). Families have been stressed in so many different ways and this has been made all the more difficult by a lack of support as friends and relatives have moved away and communities have changed. With this increase in referrals there is now also an urgent need for additional support. We require more foster parents, prayer support, and financial sponsorship to provide for the needs of the children (swimming lessons, music tuition, furniture and holiday camps) as well as financial assistance to provide the resources needed to serve the community in this way (additional social workers, cost of running cars and transport for children).

We are very keen to share our story with the wider community and invite people in Canterbury to consider partnering with us in this local mission work by providing prayer support, sponsorship and by stepping up to provide foster care for a few days to give long term carers a break or on a longer term basis. We provide on-going training, 24 hour support and financial reimbursement to all our foster carers. They are the heart of our organisation.

Our vision is that ‘every child in NZ will receive a depth of care that will bless them for the rest of their life’ and our goal is to have enough foster parents to be able to say ‘yes’ to every referral.  We are very keen to share our story and to partner with the community across wider Canterbury. Our new website provides some wonderful information about the work we do including interviews with foster parents and online sponsorship details. www.ohf.org.nz  If you are interested in fostering or would like a presentation for your organisation, community group, congregation or mission leadership team please contact: nicole.garner@ohf.org.nz or
PH 03 366 5977   We’d be delighted to partner with you!

Thanks to Nicole Garner for sending this post in

Keeping Healthy with Exercise in Halswell

Exercise is a bit of a challenge at this time of year, its a bit chilly for walks and the mud makes gardening less inviting!

There are lots of great options in the Halswell area to keep you motivated and fit no matter your age or ability. Remember exercise keeps you warm and energised!! It can improve your immune system helping you to fight those colds and flu and can help you get out and have fun on a gloomy night, where you might normally end up on the couch.  There are many aspects to ‘being fit’ Strength, flexibility, aerobic and aerobic fitness are all important, and we should try to do something everyday to contribute to each of these aspects. 

Firstly we often think of exercise as aerobic exercise this is the type of exercise that goes for a long time and you have enough oxygen to fuel your body. For example going for a walk and having a natter to your friends, cycling to work, some housework and gardening or going for a swim. It should be enough for you to lose your breath slightly but still be able to have a conversation.  This type of exercise works the heart , lungs and your blood system to pump oxygenated blood around your body. We should aim to achieve 30 mins of aerobic exercise a day and this can be broken up into smaller segments such as 5 min blocks.  A really great way to motivate yourself to do this type of exercise more would be to join the Halswell Walk and Talk (call 941- 8999) or try Tai Chi (Annette 03 322-1289)

Another important type of exercise is where we don’t have enough oxygen to fuel our body- this is the exercise that makes you puff!! Think of a Zumba class, aerobics class, going to a run or playing sport. This type of exercise burns lots calories for the amount of time that you spend doing it- an 80kg person would burn approx 246kcal in a moderate 30min aerobics class. We do have to be a bit careful with this type of exercise as it can put some strain on your body and initially cause fatigue (due to that burny lactic acid!!) so if you are pregnant or have other health conditions it pays to have a chat to your medical practitioner first. We have some great sports clubs in Halswell to get involved in to add this ingredient into your fitness soup!! There is also Zumba (Contact Michelle: 021 1086 755) and aerobics all on your doorstep waiting for you to try!

Strength is one of the most important forms of exercise we should do as without it we can lose the ability to do lots of normal everyday things. I have met many older (and surprisingly young!) people who find hanging out their washing and getting in and out of chairs a challenge due to lack of strength. The good news is that strength can be improved quickly and at any age.  Some housework activities and gardening uses strength, however we need to be doing these every week to ensure we use it and don’t lose it. The bonus of strength based exercises is that we gain muscle which in turn burns extra fat when we are sleeping!  We have so many options in Halswell from a gym around the corner with great trainers who can help you with your strength training, Pilates classes (call Rebecca on 027 690 8993) on your doorstep and  butts abs and thighs classes (Phone John on 348 1718 or 027-335-9488). There is no excuse!

And lastly but possibly most importantly is flexibility. This is to ensure that our joints have enough mobility to function the way they were designed. We should all stretch everyday to help manage aches and pains and prevent future injury. How about trying Yoga (Call Rebecca on 027 690 8996)? Its not as scary as you think I promise!

With all this huffing and puffing and moving, you will be keeping toastie warm, sleeping like a log, free from colds, bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready for a fantastic summer, when it comes.  Enjoy!

Check out the Sports and Physical Activities Page for more information about what you can do around Halswell. 

Thanks to Rebecca Harford for this article

Monday, June 17, 2013

MENZSHED Opens in Halswell

The Halswell MENZSHED opened recently and is proving a hit with the blokes who have already discovered it! It is found in Nash Road just past St John of God. I’m guided there by a number of signs which give me some confidence that I’m going the right way.

When I arrive, there are about 10- 12 blokes around the place. Keith Kelvin, Kevin (I’m fast reaching the conclusion that that everyone’s name has to start with “K”), Chris, Don Harry, Robin, Roger and others I didn’t catch. After a minor double take when a woman walked into the room, they all resume working on their various projects. Don and Roger, the supervisors greet me at the door. They outline the health and safety rules. I note that things look pretty relaxed when they are all being followed. A “new” person comes in, introductions are made, and in minutes he is deeply engaged in discussing one of the many projects currently on the go.

Kelvin is sanding a small table that he is helping to restore. I take a photo and then am led around the shed to be introduced to some of the bigger… er “boys toys” around the place. There’s a wood lathe, a band saw, a drop saw, a drill press, and an array of smaller hand tools. While I’m there, someone offers to donate a compressor to the shed. And, of course, there is an all-important barbecue tucked in the back corner…. Keith tells me that the shed could still use a few more things including smaller hand tools – hammers, saws and they could also do with things like nails, screws and bolts. “Perhaps a thicknesser would be nice,” he says, “It’s worth coming to us if you want to donate something you are no longer using – even if we have something, it may be that one of the other sheds around town could use it instead.”

Over in the corner, I chat to Robin – an ex farmer with a lot of inventing and tinkering experience. He made bail feeders after he gave up farming, and retired from the feeders a couple of years ago. He’s enthusiastic about the project and tells me that it has largely been driven by Roger Spicer a pastor at the local Baptist Church. Roger tells me that many others have also been involved – from the folk at Craythornes, Teds Bar and Grill (in Ensign Street) and Anthony Wilding who gave them breakfast for their meetings, to Mark Anderson at St John of God who has had a large part to play in the project. Halswell Timber Company donated the sign on the Shed. The project is overseen by the Acorn Trust part of the South West Baptist Church (formerly Spreydon and Halswell Baptist Churches).
Robin tells me “When I heard about this project, I just had to be involved” he says. “It’s tremendous fun and it’s good to meet and work with others who have similar interests.”

 “There are lots of guys around here with a lot of experience and knowledge. I make toys and it’s really useful to be able to bring something in and ask how I should solve some problem I have” says Keith. You can bring along your project and get help and ideas about what to do how to get the tricky bits sorted, or you might just go along and work on projects that are already on the go. The men have made 7 seats for nearby Aidanfield School – a project that many of them clearly enjoyed. No doubt the school is pleased to have the results of that project too.

The MENZSHED concept is aimed at improving male mental health. No doubt it does that. But most of the blokes there are not thinking about that too much. They are enjoying themselves, making new friends, learning new skills or contributing the considerable skills that they have. If you have any kind of interest in this at all, get yourself down there, either on Thursdays or Saturdays between 10 and 12. Thank you to all who have been involved in setting this up. It looks like a great community asset.

Find out more about MENZSHEDS at http://menssheds.org.nz/ and, if you want to know more about the Shed in Halswell, Check out the info here contact Roger Spicer at roger.s@xtra.co.nz or phone him on 027 229 1928.