Local generosity funds transport

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NICK.BROOK@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

The 2005 Nissan Note supplied by Cleverleys to Clutha children counselling service Hearing You is now decal›branded and clocking up good miles for counsellor Sue Evans.

When the Covid›19 relief›funded Chatbus ran out of Government support last year, Mike Hurring Contracting, Balclutha Motors, Cleverleys and Insurance Brokers Alliance formed a team of local sponsors.

‘‘Chatbus came to us almost by chance, and it immediately raised flags with some very confronting statistics — and effective results.

‘‘We had to find a way to keep the service going and these guys came through for the district’s kids,’’ Detective Kate Bartlett, of Balclutha, said.

Catholic Social Services child counsellor Sue Evans lives with her family in Dunedin and drives the Hearing You Car to visit 11 schools around the Clutha region.

‘‘Kids are dealing with loss, anxiety, anger, sadness, aggression. There’s their own Covid nervousness and what they pick up from adults around them,’’ Mrs Evans said.

‘‘We’re not born with the tools to manage big emotions like grief. Like everyone else children want to feel better, be heard and talk it through, understand these things are processes and learn effective ways to get through it.’’

Mrs Evans sees about 50 self› referred children with parental permission every fortnight for 10 to 50 minutes each, and is in close contact with Det Bartlett for short› notice, high›priority children’s needs.

She had a tip for all parents and caregivers to talk to kids at home.

‘‘Being told ‘Don’t worry about it’ isn’t much help. When you’re with your kids remember to check in and ask them what’s ontheir mind, how they’re doing. Let them know you’re there and if they open up, just keep listening. Say ‘Tell me more’.

‘‘Just being heard and understood is a huge relief, and opens the way to talk about strategies and solutions if you’re ready for that.’’

The 2005, 1.5l automatic 5›seat Nissan has airbags, space for Mrs Evans’ resources and good sounds for the rounds.

‘‘There is a lot of travel in this role and it’s comfortable and easy to drive. We really appreciate the generosity.’’