Supergrans looking to branch out

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New direction . . . Recently appointed Supergrans manager Pipe Weber (right) and assistant manager Leanne Stenhouse are working on new ways to future-proof the organisation. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

Greater collaboration with social agencies, new premises at street level and finding new ways to teach skills are all on the cards for Supergrans in Dunedin.

Supergrans’ new manager, Pip Weber, and assistant manager Leanne Stenhouse are working hard on finding ways to future-proof the organisation.

“There are lots of benefits in the work that Supergrans do – the skills our volunteers teach are very useful and important for people to know,” Ms Weber said.

“However, we need to be more visible, and to highlight with social agencies that we are here and keen to help.”

Supergrans Dunedin is the only South Island branch of Supergrans Aotearoa, which works to match mostly retired volunteers with young families facing challenges.

Ms Stenhouse said there were 22 “grans” in Dunedin, who acted as “mentors of life skills”, teaching everything from cooking and gardening to household management.

“We are always open to new volunteers and our grans are not just women – we are very keen to have ‘super-grandads’ too.”

Ms Weber said that, after many years of being located in upstairs premises, the Supergrans team were keen to find new street-level premises which would be easily accessible to both volunteers and clients.

Alongside its work with vulnerable families, and running the Senior Chef courses for Age Concern Otago, the Supergrans team is keen to expand their activities to include students at Otago Polytechnic and the University of Otago.

Supergrans volunteers are being surveyed at present to see if they prefer to continue working one-on-one with families or whether they may like to be part of group sessions.

“Group classes in cooking, sewing, and other skills can be a lot of fun and a great way of bringing people together,” Ms Weber said.

“It’s all about expanding the range of services we offer, so that we can connect as many people as we can.”