Variety – the Children's Charity is launching its Warm Hearts Winter Appeal to provide 1100 children with beds amidst concerns that this winter maybe the worst yet for New Zealand children living in poverty.
With Covid in the community and New Zealand's international borders open to arrivals bringing in new strains of respiratory illnesses, such as influenza, it's likely the coming winter may be one of the worst for Kiwi families and children in NZ's poorest communities, according to Variety.
Chief executive Susan Glasgow says children living in poverty bear the brunt of winter illnesses in part due to sharing beds or having no bed of their own.
'Sadly, one in 10 children in our poorest communities don't have their own bed. They are sleeping on the floor, on couches, on mouldy mattresses or sharing beds with siblings. Sharing beds means sharing viruses and other serious illnesses.
'Every year, 28,000 children are hospitalised for diseases linked to poor sleeping environments.”
For the past four years, Variety has partnered with the government's Healthy Home Initiative to fund new beds and warm bedding to children and babies sleeping in unsafe, unhealthy conditions.
Nik Gregg, an HHI provider in the Bay of Plenty, is concerned about the coming winter season for children and families crowded into cold damp housing.
'We are seriously concerned with potentially new versions of the flu circulating and impacting our whānau who are in highly occupied housing situations and sleeping in shared sleeping environments.
'This means more days off school and work, more household stress, more visits to the doctor and possibly the hospital with those who are impacted by asthma and respiratory concerns that may be exacerbated by variations of the flu.
'Our focus as an HHI provider is to assist our whānau to live in a warm, dry and safe home.
'We focus our efforts on supporting whānau with an extensive list of activities, including insulation, repairs, advocacy and more.”
Nik says despite all of the support they can provide, if children and babies don't have their own sleeping space, the health and social benefits of a warm and dry home are compromised.
For anyone wanting to help keep Kiwi kids out of hospital this winter by ensuring they have their own bed and warm bedding, visit variety.org.nz to make a donation.
-$45 will provide a warm blanket
-$80 will provide a bedding pack
-$343 will provide a single bed and bedding pack
-$688 will provide bunk beds and bedding pack