History of Life Community Services
History of Life Community Services
In 2006, a group of like minded people began to meet and brainstorm how they could work together and create an educationally focused family service in Hamilton. Jane Bisset led this group and her key idea was the notion of a ‘super-nanny’ type support based around an empirically proven parenting programme. The underlying principles of these discussions were that services should be free and empowering, so people became skilled at managing their own lives and not service dependant. It was evident that there was no free family service in the city that supported families without ‘criteria’ – if you didn’t have abuse of some sort then you couldn’t receive service. Yet it was also evident that there were many families with problems, who didn’t meet criteria, and couldn’t afford the parenting services that charged. This then became a mandate to develop accordingly to meet these needs.
The team held two jobs in other area whilst establishing Life Community Services (LCS) over the next few years. This involved networking, sourcing funding, training, creating staff operational manuals and the like. By 2009 services were up and running on a part-time basis, with Jane still holding down a full time job elsewhere. Services that began in 2009:
- Incredible Years Parent Programmes for parents
- Life Learners Literacy Programme for children
- GHD and Rock & Water for pre-teens
By 2011 the service moved out of a part-time model based in Jane’s home and became a full-time service provider out of office premises in Kent St, Hamilton, with Jane working full time for LCS and ten other part-time staff undertaking roles across the other service areas. This was an incredibly busy first year, with almost 400 families engaging with LCS and service provision occurring in Hamilton, Cambridge, Te Awamutu and Huntly.
Life Community Services is a not for profit educational family and community service which has:
- Accredited and trained Incredible Years facilitators for Parent Programmes for pre and school age children.
- Trained Parent Coaches who work in the home to support the generalisation of skills from the Incredible Years Courses.
- We also run the Incredible Years Advanced Family Programme for families requiring more extensive support
- Trained Incredible Years Peer Coaches contracting with Government and other NGO’s to train and coach facilitators.
- We run Friends for Life and Rock & Water on site – programmes for pre-teens in the areas of self-esteem and self management skills.
- We not offer the Literacy Programme as free tuition after school.
- We employed a Kaumatua and aim to be a bicultural service.
- We are a not for profit free community service – there is no fee for families nor any entry criteria beyond ‘If you want to work with us, we will work with you’.
- We currently have a staff of 14 and are service managed by Jane Bisset, who is employed by the trust that governs LCS, namely City Hope Charities Trust
- We receive funding through many applications to Trusts and Lottery Boards as well as some contract work we are able to tender for.
- We are actively seeking more sustainable funding and sponsorship.
LCS are contracted with the Minstry of Education to deliver The Incredible Years Parent Programme (IY) for 3-8 year olds. In 2011 we received 4 contracts which quickly grew into 8 and in 2012, we have received 8 ministry contracts to deliver IY Waikato-wide. LCS staff members are also contracted to the Ministry of Education Special Education, for in-home support for parents/caregivers of children who have been excluded from school, as well as Peer Coaching for some of the Ministry staff. LCS is a current direct provider for CYF.
Apart from our incredible success with government agencies in a short space of time (Life Community Services is only 2 years old at the end of 2012), we also seek to work in collaboration with other Waikato family agencies in order to provide the best possible wrap around support for Waikato Families. For example, we are currently working with the Hamilton Abuse Intervention Project (HAIP) and the Migrant Resource Centre to deliver parenting programmes. We regularly meet with key people from other family services to continue to strive towards excellent service for Waikato Families.
Ray Stevens was promoted to take over the leadership and running of Life Community Services as Jane Bisset resigned to follow her dream of going back home to Scotland for a time. She is now on the Board of Trustees.
We have 8 part time staff and Ray who is employed full time. We continue to deliver the full range of programmes for Incredible Years parenting programmes, these include Toddler 1-3 years, 3-8 years, 6-12 years. We also have our Parent Coaching group which meets fortnightly, this is a goal focused group which offers immediate help to those waiting for a programme to start.
We also deliver Incredible Years for Teachers and are contracted through the Ministry of Education to provide this to Early Childhood Teachers.
We also continue to deliver Emotional Intelligence programmes for Children and Youth through the school terms. Our wait-lists are usually quite full with a lot of need for these programmes out in the community.
2017 and who we are today
We continue to deliver Incredible Years for parents and teacher programmes. Our staff of fully accredited and qualified facilitators for the Parent and Teacher programmes continue to deliver a quality service to the Waikato area. We have on staff an Accredited Peer Coach in both Parent and Teacher programmes.
We also deliver Emotional Intelligence programmes for children and youth. These programmes are delivered during the school day once a week for the term. All courses are generally well subscribed so it is best to get referrals in as soon as possible as we do have a wait list for all of our programmes.