Gwen fronts for IHC
For years IHC volunteers like Matamata’s Gwen Kirkwood have baked cakes, made jam, pickled onions and collected bric-a-brac to pay for that extra help for people with disabilities that government funding does not meet.
In celebration of Mrs Kirkwood’s efforts, IHC’s head office got in touch in early December to ask is show would be one of the faces of their annual appeal. While flattered, she wasn’t initially keen.
‘‘ I’m not a front person I’d rather work in the background, it did take a bit of persuading,’’ Mrs Kirkwood said.
‘‘I was reluctant to begin with but then I thought that it would be the right thing to do because I am actively passionate about IHC.’’ So on December 21 her kitchen became a photo shoot set, an experience she said was surprisingly enjoyable.
‘‘They took some pictures outside and the rest were in the kitchen because they wanted to focus on what our committee had done, raising money through baking. Matamata was always a baking and preserves area,’’ she said.
‘‘I made some icing beforehand then [fellow model] Sophie [Tuenter] helped me put it on the cake. It was a fun photo shoot, lots of fun.’’
However it definitely isn’t publicity that has kept Mrs Kirkwood raising money, running appeals, organising stalls and overseeing op shop day but the opportunity to assist others.
‘‘I first got involved in 1969, a friend of mine asked if I would go on the Matamata committee. I’ve always been interested in people and it was a way to help.’’
‘‘We are a little town and rather unique, there are very few local area committees left.’’
She said it was wonderful what had been achieved over the years by Matamata volunteers on behalf of the organisation that helped 35,000 people with an intellectual disability nationwide.
‘‘ The need has always been there but it has grown over the years. Government subsidies help but so much of IHC is not government funded and when I look and see what IHC has done in this town, it’s rather marvellous.’’
What has been achieved locally is indeed impressive and will be showcased in a stand outside the BNZ on Friday.
The display will include details about the services and support available in Matamata for people with disabilities, such as the computer and technology centre, day services and activities and residential facilities, as well as information about the work done by the local area committee and regional committee.
Brochures will also be available on how you can become an IHC volunteer or support the organisation financially and a grocery raffle is also running this week outside Achievaz at the end of Arawa St.
‘‘We do things differently now,’’ Mrs Kirkwood said. ‘‘There are so many good causes and you have to realise that people can’t give to everything. But some things don’t change. People with intellectual disabilities need our help now as much as they always have.’’
Campaign faces: Auckland’s Sophie Tuenter and Matamata’s Gwen Kirkwood met over a basin of pink icing – all for a good cause.