An Alexandra programme offering life skills classes for people serving community sentences has proved so successful programmes are being organised for other Central Otago towns.
Central Otago Rural Education Activities Programme (Coreap) manager Bernice Lepper said Coreap had been running a life skills programme for several years and two years ago, after a discussion with the probations officer in Alexandra, a class was set up for people serving community sentences.
‘‘The success of that probation class got the attention of Corrections.
‘‘We then began meeting Corrections and looking at how we could expand the programme to meet different communities’ needs.’’
‘‘We’ve just got funding from the Central Lakes Trust to extend the programme into Wanaka and into Cromwell,’’ Mrs Lepper said.
‘‘So the programmes are offered to those on community hours on a similar basis, following our life skills model.’’
There is also a programme in Ranfurly.
Department of Corrections/Ara Poutama Aotearoa service manager for Queenstown and Alexandra Faavae Kuresa said the Coreap life skills programme enabled offenders to develop general skills for daily life, and people on asentence of more than 80 hours of community work could convert up to 20% of their sentence to skills programmes.
‘‘Many of the people we are working with have missed out on some of the basic skills the majority of us take for granted.
‘‘These include healthy eating, parenting, literacy, numeracy, learner licensing and forklift courses,’’ he said.
The skills included food preservation, jam-making and even knitting classes.