WHY Porirua, New Zealand?
As of 2016, approximately 40% of Porirua was under the age of 25. With 20% of the total population identifying as Maori (14% NZ) and 25% as Pacific (7% NZ), this makes Porirua one of the most youthful and ethnically diverse places in New Zealand.
In addition, Porirua has one of the nation’s highest percentages of single parent families (23%) and large households (4 persons or more). 52% of households receive benefit. 26% of people have no qualifications. Most houses lack modern heating. More than 55% of young people are unable to afford heating their home in winter. 25% of young people report a home with damp or mould. 75% of whanau and social service providers report that half or nearly all of the children they know or worked with had poor health because of the houses they lived in.
Declared a "food desert,” Porirua children have limited access to healthy foods, fruits and vegetables. Each day, hundreds of children attend "low - decile" Porirua schools without breakfast or lunch. Under 50% of children in Porirua exercise or engage in recreational activities more than five times per week. Reports show that there is significant room for increased physical activity to improve overall health, wellness, and energy levels of children in the region. Young people are at an increased risk of crime and safety issues revolving around alcohol, drugs, theft and damage.
“LET THEM PLAY”
A COLLABORATION OF TWO PORIRUA NON - FOR - PROFITS
Porirua’s "Let Them Play" Project is a collaborative effort on behalf of two Porirua non - for - profits, Olé Football Academy (est. 1997) and Virtuoso Strings Orchestra (est. 2013) to make a lasting impact in the lives of Porirua, New Zealand based children and families.
Both organisations have proven track records of working successfully with children and families in the the Porirua community for a combined 25+ years. The "Let Them Play" Project offers free and grant subsidised long - term (3+ year) play, learning and holistic educational opportunities to Porirua based children and young people between 6 - 24 years of age.
The "Let Them Play" Project will initially engage 50 - 60 Porirua children between 6 - 10 years of age, giving them free entry into full - time Olé Football Academy and / or Virtuoso Strings programmes, as well as, a collaborative holistic educational sport and music programme, where children will be offered 1 - 2 additional play / recreational opportunities each week; including but not limited to, 1 - 2 sport contacts, as well as, 1 - 2 music lessons.
Outside of sport and music instruction, the "Let Them Play" Project provides full access to all Olé Football Academy and Virtuoso Strings facilities and resources; including but not limited to; professional staff, state - of - the - art sports turf, classroom facilities, transportation, food and meals, equipment, instruments, kit, gear, mentorship programmes, administrative support, academic support, affiliate facilities, and community resources, etc. Additional sport / music lessons and community dinners will take place at one central location, Freedom Church, Porirua.
Both organisations have demonstrated a determined commitment to the Porirua child and family. The "Let Them Play" Project seeks to expand each organisation's impact and community reach by offering full access to introductory grassroots and elite sport / music programmes. The opportunity to enter such programmes is one of a kind and has the capacity to drastically transform the lives of individuals and families, as well as lead to unprecedented play and educational experiences for children in the future.