Plunket making changes
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.