SPN Family Fun Day: When Selwyn Parenting Network was first established in 2011/2012, there were very few family events happening in the Selwyn region; it was our desire to bring families together through offering low cost (or free) events that would attract parents, grandparents and caregivers to enjoy a wide selection of fun activities whilst connecting with others. SPN Family Fun Day was born and soon became one of our annual showcase events on the calendar, happening during the Spring holidays each October. In 2018 and 2019 we elevated our offering to include informational hubs in addition to over 30 different fun activities ranging from bouncy castles, through to horse riding, and from local bands playing through to dancing groups performing. We partnered with no less than 20 community based organisations to deliver a fun filled three hours of entertainment from our recognised venue of choice: Lincoln Events Centre. These informational hubs included a Creative Hub | Nutritional Hub | Sports & Activity Hub | Social Skills Hub and more; each providing parents with the opportunity to access informative and educative materials from service providers and community organisations, whilst allowing the children to experience fun activities, and get involved on the day. The following two years of 2020 and 2021 saw in-person events hugely impacted by the global pandemic, and whilst we were unable to host a large event during the Spring school holidays, we were very proactive through our digital platforms - ensuring that we signposted parents to other events and activities taking place either online, or on a smaller scale. It provided SPN with the opportunity to reevaluate what Selwyn really needed, especially given many other annual events now coming to the region, and it was agreed that future resources would be ploughed into making Selwyn Parenting Week an annual event on the SPN Calendar.
SPN Play & Connect: Play & Connect was an initiative made possible through funding from SKIP resources and CMM which allowed us to create an a fortnightly (term time) get together for parents of children 0-5, including those new to the region; new to parenting, and those in need of connecting with other like minded parents with babies/young children? SPN Play & Connect provided a welcoming and relaxed space, which was aimed at connecting local parents to other parents/families; the main intention being that parents and caregivers could build their own support networks amongst one another and connect within the community. We welcomed parents and caregivers to come and join the SPN Team for a coffee and chat while the little ones played - it provided a great chance to meet other parents in the community and to find out about local services. As the old saying goes, all good things have to come to an end though and change was inevitable. In its’ role to empower and strengthen whānau in Selwyn, Selwyn Parenting Network has always evaluated the outcomes of every project undertaken, with a desire to continue evolving, and we were delighted to witness many new service providers creating opportunities within Selwyn for the 0-5 age group; local libraries initiating new concepts; childcare providers extending free pop up workshops in rural areas and more community groups taking the lead with fun offerings. As we forged forward with a new Strategic Plan in late 2019, it was time for SPN to redirect funding and resources into new identified groups; groups who also needed our support to connect them to their Selwyn audience. We will always be grateful to the many volunteers who gave their time to this initiative, and also to Lea Gardner from PAUA Early Childhood Home Based Care Service who was instrumental in providing resources and facilitation for this group.
Selwyn Kids Cook Mondays: Kids Cook Mondays was a month long initiative that we did for 4 years through the month of July (2018 - 2021 inclusive) and which saw us partnering with local Nutritionist Pip Meads from Pure & Simple Nutrition - A campaign dedicated to seeing more kids involved in the preparation and cooking of food, and quality family time around the table.