Volunteers asked to wait on guidelines

Jay Simon and Julia Larkin have set up a Facebook page for messages from people in Wanaka who...
Jay Simon and Julia Larkin have set up a Facebook page for messages from people in Wanaka who want to help or need help during the Covid- 19 pandemic. KERRIE WATERWORTH
Volunteers offering to visit the elderly or people self-isolating are being asked to hold back until there are Ministry of Health guidelines to prevent the risk of the Covid-19 virus spreading.

Volunteering Central senior co-ordinator Gillian White said groups were forming on Facebook offering support to people — which was ‘‘fantastic’’ — but they needed to make sure it was done safely.

‘‘We have to be really mindful that it is carried out under Ministry of Health guidelines because we can’t have, say, students, who are potentially high carriers of the virus, going and visiting older people with no guidelines,’’ Ms White said.

This week the Queenstown Lakes District Council posted links on its website for people to register with Volunteering Central, or businesses, to help anyone self-isolating.

Governance, engagement and communications manager Naell Crosby-Roe said people were not sure what role volunteers could play at this stage.

‘‘When it is clearer what is needed in the welfare space, Volunteering Central will be working with the council’s emergency management team to allocate volunteer resources where they are needed.’’

Jay Simon and Julia Larkin, both of Wanaka, set up the ‘‘Wanaka Caremongering’’ Facebook page to provide a platform for those wanting to help.

It attracted 520 members in two days.

Mr Simon agreed volunteering needed to be co-ordinated through Volunteering Central but said there were many other ways people could support visitors and locals in self-isolation.

‘‘For instance I have given up my guesthouse to a solo mum who has just returned from attending her mother’s 60th birthday party in Germany and can’t go back to her shared flat.

‘‘This is a personal decision and I am not endangering my family because it is a separate building at the bottom of the garden and it is isolated.’’

Ms Larkin said there were ‘‘a lot of mums and women in the community that want to do baking or show kindness and help but don’t want to get involved in mass volunteering — this site allows you to do that’’.

There are similar groups elsewhere.

‘‘Cromwell Caremongering’’ and ‘‘Caremongering Covid-19 Central Otago’’ have been established in recent days.



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