Plun­ket mak­ing changes

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Carly Tawhiao

PLUN­KET vol­un­teers in Auck­land will vote next month on whether to re­struc­ture their three fam­ily cen­tres in a bid to reach more fam­i­lies.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion is looking at con­sol­i­dat­ing the Mt Eden, Pon­sonby and Mead­ow­bank cen­tres into two lo­ca­tions and leas­ing the third space for ex­tra in­come.

Auck­land Plun­ket coun­cil­lor Sam Newby-Why­brow says the ex­tra money could be used for Pepe, the par­ent ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme.

“The fam­ily cen­tres pro­vide an in­ten­sive ser­vice be­cause it’s the prob­lem end of things,” she says.

“If we put more fund­ing into Pepe we might pre­empt that mo­ment and not so many fam­i­lies may turn up in a cri­sis.”

She says con­sol­i­dat­ing the cen­tres may also mean more flex­i­ble ser­vice hours.

If the vol­un­teers vote in favour of the move, an in­de­pen­dent as­ses­sor would de­ter­mine which build­ing would be best be suited to lease out.

Plun­ket area man­ager Stephanie Shen­nan says the vol­un­teers of Auck­land’s 27 sub-branches must de­cide on the op­tion be­cause they rep­re­sent the clients.

She is adamant the pro­posal will not re­duce ser­vices, just re­di­rect them.

“We’re mov­ing with the times. Pro­vid­ing ser­vices funded by the vol­un­teers is al­ways a chal­lenge and we’d al­ways wel­come more money but we’re not in a credit cri­sis, it’s an or­gan­i­sa­tion that is com­mu­nity owned and driven,” she says.

A sin­gle hub is also an op­tion Auck­land’s Plun­ket so­ci­ety wants to in­ves­ti­gate long-term. For that to oc­cur all ex­ist­ing as­sets would have to be sold.

“If we did de­cide to sell, our build­ings may go but the ser­vices would re­main in a new fa­cil­ity,” Ms Shen­nan says.

“We want to reach a max­i­mum num­ber of peo­ple with a re­ally ef­fec­tive ser­vice that can con­nect peo­ple to their com­mu­nity,” she says.

For mother Jane Ward, the ser­vices pro­vided by the Rose Rd fam­ily cen­tre in Pon­sonby were so help­ful she of­fered to join her lo­cal Plun­ket com­mit­tee.

Jane’s seven-month-old son Louie had to have a her­nia op­er­a­tion at six weeks of age and says the nurses were en­cour­ag­ing and the ser­vices ap­pre­ci­ated by moth­ers like her­self.

“I vis­ited them again when Louie was ready to go on solids and they were fan­tas­tic. All the ad­vice they gave me was dead-on,” says Jane.

Health Min­is­ter Tony Ryall also con­firmed this week that Plun­ket Line is now avail­able to par­ents 24hours-a-day, ev­ery day.

Mr Ryall says the ser­vice will re­ceive $3.75 mil­lion over the next 15 months.

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