There are two categories for the Eyebright Awards, with nominations invited from within the Plunket community nationally. Entries are judged by a panel from Plunket’s Māori Health, Operations and Quality & Development leadership with star sponsors Huggies and Wattie's.
The ‘Working Together’ Award is awarded to a team that demonstrates how they worked together across Plunket to improve or deliver exceptional results for Plunket, or exceptional services to family or community.
The ‘Innovation’ Award which is awarded to the team that developed an innovative solution, opportunity or way of working to deliver better service to families, communities or Plunket.
Winners have been announced for the 2011 Eyebright Awards.
Nicky Skerman, leader of the Eyebright Award winning Young Parents Team, highlights that New Zealand has the third highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the OECD. She took learnings from her thesis, and with funding from the Vodafone Foundation, gathered a small team of people together to run a pilot programme which has improved parenting and health outcomes significantly for teenage mothers in Hawke’s Bay.
The programme responds to the most resounding conclusion of Nicky Skerman’s research - that teenage mothers look for support from someone they know and trust. So Plunket’s pilot scheme sees relationships between teenage mothers and their Plunket Nurse forming early in Hawke’s Bay - before the baby is born.
The pilot is being formally evaluated by EIT and the results are due out in March 2012. Nicky Skerman says: “The results in our community speak volumes. My dream is to get this funded all over the country.”
With 85 drowning deaths among under-fives recorded by Water Safety New Zealand in the decade to December 2010, 31 in home pools, Plunket supports all measures which help keep children safe in and around water.
Some of the four year olds from rural Patea, Waverley and Ball Road can now jump off a diving board into five metres of water thanks to Plunket-inspired swimming lessons which brought a community together.
The Eyebright Award winning Ball Road and District branch of Plunket set up their own $1 lessons with a qualified instructor in a local indoor heated pool. In year one 92 children took part in the 13 week course. In year two 75 children and this year 76 children have taken part.
The award for Innovation was won by Waikato Plunket for a unique Superhero Roadshow they staged in 14 Waikato towns from February to May, delivering original songs about positive parenting which were written and performed by New Zealand’s answer to The Wiggles - The Funky Monkeys.
Waikato Plunket’s Community Services Leader Richelle Whittaker, who led the initiative, said the roadshow was designed to provide free, fun events for families. The shows were also an opportunity to engage families with the positive parenting messages championed by SKIP (The Ministry of Social Development’s ‘Strategies with Kids, Information for Parents’ programme).
More than 4000 Waikato people were entertained by the shows, dressed as their favourite superhero, bringing Plunket’s Appeal Week theme to life. Fire truck rides, face painting, gumboot throwing, candy floss, sausage sizzles and bouncy castles added to the fun and excitement for the Mums, Dads, caregivers, grandparents, children and Plunket support teams who attended.
The reasons the judges awarded Southland One Plunket 2010’s Eyebright Award for Working Together were five-fold. In addition to their ground-breaking Seen & Safe initiative, designed to deliver greater footpath safety and car seat vigilance for Southland children, the team also secured ongoing funding for a dedicated Lactation Consultant helping give vital early support for breast-feeding Mums in the area; implemented an ACC Safety Workout for its staff in partnership with ACC; set up much-needed areas for play, changing and feeding for parents and children attending the Southern Field Days event at Waimumu; and created a new Plunket facility at Winton in central Southland.
The programme also extends to making sure car seats are safe. At each child’s well-child check at Plunket, between ages 21 and 35 months, parents are given a voucher for their child’s helmet and hi-viz vest. At the time the vest and helmet are issued, the car restraint is checked for its appropriateness for the child’s age and size and advice is given to correct any errors with use or installation by car seat rental service staff.
Our Upper Clutha team of volunteers based in Wanaka, were the force behind what is now a thriving Plunket Centre thanks to their hard work and community spirit. It was this dedication that won them the Eyebrights Innovation award in 2009.
The team’s red and white Plunket marquee is a landmark at community events. Plunket mums and dads are often seen setting up the 8 x 6m tent at local events. In summer it’s a welcome resting place away from the Central Otago heat for young families. It is set up with nappy-changing stations, chairs for parents feeding babies, a high-chair for feeding toddlers and toys for the children to play with.
“We are all quite passionate about where we live. There are a lot of us, with 15 on the committee, and we enjoy working together on something we feel is important for our families and the community,” says local parent, volunteer and committee President Karen Mackenzie.
The team secured a grant to employ a room hostess who keeps the recently re-built Plunket rooms “just like home”. She washes toys to keep them hygienic, maintains a library of resources for young parents who visit, runs workshops from ‘Active Movement’ and ‘Mini Muscles’ to ‘Learn to Knit’, and gives Plunket a place at the heart of the community.
The Newtown Plunket team behind a special refugee and migrant playgroup for families in city council housing in Newtown, Wellington were the winners of 2009 Better Together award. The playgroups were instigated in 2004, through a team effort with the Rintoul Villas community, the Ministry of Education and the Wellington City Council.
Four years later the Wellington Plunket team took this initiative a step further by organising PEPE (Plunket Education Parenting Programme) parenting sessions to take place at the playgroup, with Somali and Arabic interpreters to assist. Newtown Plunket’s Team Leader Jess Beauchamp said with the help of the interpreters, the mothers were enthusiastic to share their parenting dilemmas and listen to others’ stories.
This Plunket ‘first’ was a joint effort by both the clinical and volunteer teams at Newtown Plunket. Plunket Nurses, Karitane and other clinical staff led the initiative, while a team of parent volunteers fund-raised to pay for the interpreters.
A team of long standing Plunket people, lead by Tuakau’s Plunket Nurse Judi Gray, won the Innovation Award in 2008.
Judy is a 25 year Plunket veteran whose compassion, care and steel-strong determination to help parents and their babies are well-known in the area. Judi’s team seized the opportunity to trial a new concept called Well Child to Well Family, which was developed with and funded by Ministry of Social Development, building on the Ministry of Health Well Child framework. They could see it would help give their community more of the ‘glue’ they believed it needed.
With one day a week dedicated to her Well Child to Well Family work, Judi supported and guided parents, to make conscious decisions around their baby’s well-being but also for their own well-being, their ongoing education, their children’s education, their dental health and their future within their family and community. Better follow-through with local doctors, dental nurses, immunisation services, early childhood educators and other community health providers enabled the Tuakau Plunket team to help young families achieve better outcomes.
A group of savvy young Plunket mothers from Birkenhead in Auckland were instrumental in achieving a renaissance for Plunket in the area and took out the Better Together Award for 2008.
The group conducted a massive volunteer drive by networking through friends, new mums, past volunteers and local media. At an information event held to encourage new members, past committee members spoke of their experiences as Plunket volunteers. Once faced with dissolution, two neighbouring Plunket branches are now filled with a unity of purpose, providing links with other community organisations to help parents feel more connected to other families and the support they need.
Sarah Porter, President of Plunket’s Birkenhead branch, says the branches had come to the end of a cycle, with a large group of long-serving volunteers moving on at once. She said at the time: “Once we got the message out to new mums, we discovered there were so many amazing minds and skill-sets out there to help us. We now have two groups of people with so much talent and energy. We welcome new blood all the time so there is always a succession of people ready to step in.”
A team of 30 from the Gisborne / Wairoa region won the Better Together Award in 2007 for the work they had done pitching in to help the community.
This small team kept their committee functioning successfully with some members holding two roles. The team comprises Plunket Nurses with more than 20 years service to Plunket, Kaiāwhina who speak Te Reo Māori, clinical support staff, parents and volunteers.
Whether it was meeting the extra challenges that come with a transient population, running swimming lessons to give a generation of Gisborne children water confidence, the Gisborne / Wairoa team was there. Teaching new mothers the art of baby massage or arranging to give a free book written by a local author to all parents who make the effort to visit Plunket for their children’s 2 or 3 year check are some further examples of this busy team’s daily work.
The Eyebright ‘Innovation’ Team Award for 2007 went to Canterbury’s six-strong Office Holder Training Team. This resourceful team of Christchurch mums created a ‘CD ROM Toolkit’ of templates, guides and agendas for parents who might otherwise have been daunted by the task of becoming an office bearer on a Plunket committee.
The CD included clear checklists detailing how to run an effective meeting, how to apply for grants, how to record and report the financial workings of the committee, how to set goals and standards and measure success or failure. It even included some lighter tips on the different ways people behave at meetings, such as ‘gate-keeper’, ‘harmoniser’, ‘clarifier’, ‘topic jumper’, ‘blocker’ and ‘joker’. The toolkit has improved turnout by 80% at Canterbury’s Plunket meetings.