Gwen fronts for IHC

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - By NICKI DAVID­SON

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.