Students chip in for Lifeskills

Cambridge Lifeskills manager Sandy Wesford and chairman John Bullick welcoming the donation from CHS Rotary Interact club president, Zara Newman.

A Cambridge High School – Rotary Interact fundraiser held earlier this year has resulted in a $1000 donation to Cambridge Lifeskills.

The money was raised at a Tivoli Cinema screening of Yesterday and a presentation was staged late last month.

The school’s Rotary Interact club comprised some 17 senior students this year, led by Year 13 student and a member of the club for the past four years, Zara Newman.  She said about half the Interact club members were leaving at the end of this year, but hopes were high that other students would come in to fill the gaps.

Zara, who is going on a year’s Rotary Exchange to France next year, presented the cheque to Cambridge Lifeskills manager Sandy Wesford and Lifeskills chairman, John Bullick.

The money would be used, they said, to swell the resources needed for the organisation to meet an ever-increasing need.

Cambridge Lifeskills is a not-for-profit agency offering counselling for children and young people aged five and 15.  The need has grown steadily since the agency started in 1992, with children and young people increasingly exposed to bullying, abuse and a range of family issues.

Sandy Wesford said a record 180 referrals had come through this year.  “That extrapolates beyond 180 children … each one has anything between six and 12 sessions, which means a huge number of hours per referral. We already have a waiting list of students seeking help.  This additional funding will help us fund more counsellors and hopefully reduce that wait time.”

John Bullick said the growing number of referrals was partly due to population growth in the Cambridge area, but could also be attributed to the increasing complexity of issues being faced by children and young people.

“We are continually juggling things to enable us to maintain enough resources to meet the needs. We receive no government funding, so this donation from CHS Rotary Interact club is most welcome.”

He said the agency relied heavily on support given from the community. He cited the example of a new vehicle donated to Lifeskills earlier this year by Cambridge Real Estate, and a pledge for its maintenance from Automotive Solutions.

“Without this sort of support, we wouldn’t be able to operate. It is extremely valuable to us.”

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