A ground-breaking intervention service aimed at helping young Rotorua men become better fathers will be given $360,000 to get up and running.
The Kia Pakari Young Dads Service, aimed at men 25 and under, will be launched next year by Maori health, social and education provider, Manaaki Ora Trust, trading as Tipu Ora.
It will be rolled out in Rotorua's central and western suburbs.
The service providers were able to get off the ground with a hefty grant from the Bay Brighter Futures group.
The Bay Brighter Futures group is a collaboration of government agencies and philanthropic funders working in the Bay of Plenty to improve the lives of young people.
BayTrust will contribute $260,000, Rotorua Energy Trust will contribute $50,000, and the Lotteries Grants Board will add another $50,000.
Tipu Ora contracts manager Ben Hingston was thrilled funding had been approved for the new initiative, saying it would transform the lives of young men who were at a crossroads.
It is hoped about 50 dads would benefit each year.
"We know a lot of young men who are not in education, not employed and don't know what they want to do with their lives. They often don't have good role models themselves and suddenly their partner is pregnant. Usually that's the time these men want to change the trajectory of their lives but at the moment there isn't a dedicated service available to help them do that."
The new service will offer one-on-one mentoring and group support sessions to help get their lives back on track.
"It's a complete, holistic, wrap-around service to support young dads with all their health, social, education and employment needs."
Men will also be taught what to expect once their baby arrives, what health issues to be aware of, and how to be a supportive partner.
Hingston hoped to see a number of direct benefits, including a drop in domestic violence and improved health outcomes for mothers and babies, as a result of equipping young men with better parenting and life skills.
"Kia Pakari means 'to strengthen'. Our goal is to strengthen the resilience and capabilities of these young dads so they can be better fathers for their young tamariki."
BayTrust chief executive Alastair Rhodes said the inspirational service had the potential to make an enormous difference to entire families.
"There is a significant gap at present in terms of social and parenting services available in our community. Most programmes focus on the mother and baby, but fathers are an equally important part of the equation."
Rotorua Energy Trust manager Tony Gill said the Bay Brighter Futures grant would be enough to sustain the programme for its first two years.
The outcomes will be closely monitored and measured and, if successful, it's hoped other government agencies such as district health boards and the Ministry of Social Development will fund the programme in future.