Wanted: Buddies for resort oldies

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Queenstown elderly volunteer buddy service is on the hunt for some new recruits.

SupportLink matches volunteers with oldies to provide a bit of extra companionship a couple of hours each week.

Local coordinator Elaine Wells says they currently have about 45 elderly residents and 20 vollies.

The volunteers hang out with their older buddies, helping with transport to appointments and grocery shopping.

But it’s strictly social, and helpers don’t do chores for their friends, Wells says.

“It might be as simple as just sitting and chatting or going for a walk.”

She also runs coffee groups for the oldies who don’t want any one-on-one time but want to catch up with like-minded Queenstowners.

Anne Beadle, local of 60 years, has been using the service for the past five years.

“I’m never lonely because she’s [Beadle’s volunteer] always at the end of the telephone if I need any help or if I want to have a chat with somebody.

“SupportLink makes your life much easier and it’s nice to get out and see other people in the group,” she says.

Those who qualify for the free service must be over the age of 65 and living in their own home.

Wells has noticed the vollies who usually sign up are looking to give back to the community and meet new people.

“A lot of the overseas people who come here [to SupportLink] are missing their older relatives – that’s where a lot of it comes from.”

A training day’s being held on September 5 for new volunteers and Wells is encouraging people from all walks of life to sign up.

“Sometimes when we have training, Kiwis are very much a minority.”

SupportLink’s services have been provided by Presbyterian Support Southland in the resort for about 20 years – it’s also available in Southland.

To get involved, e-mail enquiry@enlivensld.nz

mandy.cooper@scene.co.nz