SuperGrans manager steps down

Departing SuperGrans manager Sandy McKay (second from left) gathers with regular Monday cooking...
Departing SuperGrans manager Sandy McKay (second from left) gathers with regular Monday cooking team volunteers (from left) Dianne Angell and George Taitua, and staff member Anne-Marie Currie in the kitchen after another big cooking session. Absent: Jan Campbell. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD
Four years at the helm of Dunedin community organisation SuperGrans has been a "joy and a privilege" for manager Sandy McKay, who stepped down from the role last week.

"I love the kaupapa of the organisation, especially the idea of people sharing basic life skills to empower others," she said.

"We are family-friendly and non-judgemental — it is just like learning skills from your mum, grandmother, or aunty."

Mrs McKay took over as manager of SuperGrans, as the organisation was transitioning from a one-on-one in-home volunteer service working with individual families, towards providing a community space for people to gather and learn skills.

The service had developed over many years under the leadership of Marie Sutherland, followed by Pip Weber, and had recently moved to a light, airy space at South City Mall, with a substantial kitchen.

This enabled SuperGrans to host cooking, sewing and craft classes and enabled volunteers to come together for a community cooking session on Monday mornings to make meals for the Dunedin Night Shelter.

SuperGrans also provided some advice in budgeting, communication, health and wellbeing, and hosted short school holiday programmes.

"I believe opening the centre here at the South City Mall has been very positive for our volunteers and the people who come here to learn. There is a lovely spirit about the place," Mrs McKay said.

"Our volunteers really enjoy cooking meals for the Night Shelter on a Monday morning and our Soup Kitchen on Monday afternoon — where people learn to make different soups — is very popular.

"We are also welcoming members of our migrant community, who enjoy coming here to use our sewing machines and be part of things," she said.

"Even if they don’t have a lot of English, just being in a safe place where there are other people around and chatting is good."

During her tenure with SuperGrans, Mrs McKay has worked hard to maintain ties with other community organisations in the city, including the Dunedin Multicultural Council, Catholic Social Service, Presbyterian Support, Anglican Family Care, Plunket, Idea Services, and Corstorphine Baptist Community Trust.

While tackling the tasks of managing an organisation and seeking funding could be challenging in a part-time role, Mrs McKay maintains her passion for the goals of SuperGrans.

"Although I am stepping down as manager and will be taking a breather, I would like to come back and roll my sleeves up as a volunteer," she said.

• For more information about activities at the SuperGrans centre in South City Mall, email, phone 455-0981, or drop in. The centre is open from 10am-2.30pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.