Volunteer angels in short supply

Help wanted . . . Angels Home Help co-ordinator Stacey Penrose pins a notice to the board seeking volunteers. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON

A Dunedin family service is looking for angels.

Plunket’s Angels Home Help service is looking for kind, compassionate, reliable people to sign up for its volunteer-based programme which offers practical support to parents of preschool-aged children.

Co-ordinator Stacey Penrose said depending on each family’s needs, volunteers could help with making beds, vacuuming or doing the dishes.

“When mum has either got a new baby, or things have got a bit tough . . . it just provides a bit of space for mum to have a bit of practical help.”

Each volunteer goes through training, which includes an introduction to Plunket policies, personal safety when working in the community, and specific training related to conducting home help visits.

Once volunteers are matched with a family, they spend one to two hours each week with them for six weeks.

“We go through a process to make the volunteers and families as comfortable as possible.”

Feedback from one family included: “She was a godsend. I was totally relaxed around her and I could feel my stress level go down when she was here.”

The service has been running for about three years and at present has 10 volunteers, including mums whose children are at school and students.

“We actually really have a wide range.

“It’s just about being non-judgemental, being willing to muck in and give a hand, and being reliable.”

Ideally, Mrs Penrose would like to have 20.

“Having 20 volunteers give you really good space if people need a break, or they want to have a month or two off.

“They can do their best work as a volunteer.”