Volunteer Otago’s new branch on hold; help still wanted

Volunteer Otago’s plans to open a Waitaki branch have been put on hold, but now is the perfect time to put your free time to good use, its manager Leisa de Klerk says.

The organisation was due to open a branch in Oamaru last month, but that has been delayed due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

It is still working remotely with the Waitaki District Council to co-ordinate efforts in the area, Ms de Klerk said.

"We are looking at supporting people in terms of if they need any shopping done, or medication picked up, that sort of thing," she said.

"Now is the chance to do something a little bit new, learn some new skills and support the community.

"We want to make sure that people get the support that they need and that the people that are volunteering are doing it as safely as possible."

While many people had stocked up for the first week of lockdown, Ms de Klerk anticipated more people would require assistance over the coming weeks.

The most urgent need was for volunteers who had been police-checked and had a full driver’s licence, she said.

"We don’t know what will happen in the next four weeks, so even if you don’t have those two requirements still sign up, because we might need support in a lot of different ways."

In pandemic-free times, Volunteer Otago worked by matching volunteers with a cause that suited their skills and availability, Ms de Klerk said.

The organisation still had plans to open up a centre in Oamaru in the future, she said.

To register, go to volunteersouth.org.nz.

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