Visitor Service volunteer Emma Plant (right) enjoys one of her regular chats with Adrienne Penson (left). Photo by Dan Hutchinson
In a twist on the usual theme, a surplus of volunteers at
one Dunedin social agency means they are now looking for
people who could use some company, rather than the other way
around. The Star reporter DAN HUTCHINSON investigates a
Dunedin's generosity has reached critical levels at Age
Concern with a surplus of volunteers and a shortage of people
asking for help.
The Accredited Visitor Service provides volunteers with
people in the city who would like a bit of extra company.
Age Concern Accredited Visitor Service co-ordinator Tristan
Kavanagh said the service had been going for ''years and
years and years'' but had now struck a unique problem.
''We are needing more clients because we have a massive
influx of volunteers and we need some more clients. It is all
the students coming forward and putting their hands up as
She said visitors could do anything from simply stopping by
for a chat, going for a walk or other activities that they
both wanted to do.
Chris Hibberd, also an AVS co-ordinator, said they knew there
were lots of people ''out there'' who could benefit from a
bit of extra company and they would be matched with the right
''We know there are a lot of people out there who are lonely
and we know there are people out there who can help,'' Miss
Miss Kavanagh said there were people who had ideas about what
they wanted to do but might need help to get started. It
might even be a matter of having someone to go shopping with.
Volunteers were not there to provide a taxi or housekeeping
service and the idea was for both people to enjoy spending
Mornington woman Adrienne Penson said she had children and
grandchildren who visited her regularly but it was still nice
to have another visitor - Emma Plant.
''We know just about everything about each other now,'' Mrs
Miss Plant works at a Dunedin hair salon but comes to visit
Mrs Penson about once a week and they sit and talk for a
couple of hours or go for a walk.