Who will save West Otago Plun­ket?

Cri­sis meet­ing on De­cem­ber 1 hopes to avoid clo­sure of 87-year-old branch

Newslink - - NEWS - By RACHEL ASKEW

The fu­ture of the West Otago branch of Plun­ket is un­cer­tain with the vol­un­teer side of the or­gan­i­sa­tion in dan­ger of clos­ing down un­less it can find a new pres­i­dent and sec­re­tary/trea­surer very soon. Four other po­si­tions on the com­mit­tee were filled at the branch’s an­nual meet­ing ear­lier in Novem­ber but an emer­gency meet­ing has been sched­uled for De­cem­ber 1 to try and fill the other two key roles. The clin­i­cal side of the or­gan­i­sa­tion, which con­sists of Plun­ket and Kar­i­tane nurses would con­tinue, but the com­mu­nity could lose its vol­un­teer Plun­ket com­mit­tee which or­gan­ises cof­fee groups, par­ent­ing ed­u­ca­tion classes, ac­tiv­ity ses­sions for chil­dren, CPR lessons, play dates, a float in the Christ­mas pa­rade and of­fers gen­eral sup­port to par­ents. The car seat ser­vice is also in dan­ger and the Plun­ket rooms, ren­o­vated last year, could end up be­ing used solely by the clin­i­cal team. Out­go­ing pres­i­dent Zita Young said the com­mit­tee could not con­tinue with­out a leader. ‘‘I think it’s in­dica­tive of all vol­un­teer groups, get­ting peo­ple to take that next step and be­come in­volved, it’s wor­ry­ing if all the lit­tle things close down, what hap­pens to the com­mu­nity?’’ She be­lieved the sup­port was there but it was about get­ting par­ents or some­one else to come for­ward. The or­gan­i­sa­tion was now ap­peal­ing to the wider com­mu­nity, rather than just email­ing Plun­ket par­ents, she said. ‘‘Per­haps some­one older, with more time and who knows the value of Plun­ket will step for­ward . . . it’s not that scary.’’ Mrs Young, who has been pres­i­dent for two years and was sec­re­tary for four years be­fore that, es­ti­mated that on av­er­age, a pres­i­dent would spend be­tween one and two hours a week on Plun­ket busi­ness, and some­times less. It was a great or­gan­i­sa­tion to be in­volved with, and good peo­ple had al­ready been ap­pointed to some of the po­si­tions, she said. She also met peo­ple from through­out the com­mu­nity while on the com­mit­tee. Her chil­dren were get­ting older and it was time for her to move on, but the branch had been go­ing for 87 years and she did not want to see it fold. It was up­set­ting for the older gen­er­a­tion who had seen the im­por­tance of Plun­ket first­hand, and also that no one cur­rently us­ing the ser­vice had come for­ward, she said. ‘‘It’s in dan­ger of clos­ing so it’s pretty se­ri­ous, which is just re­ally sad.’’ She hoped to see some new faces at the emer­gency meet­ing at the Ta­panui Plun­ket Rooms on Sun­day, De­cem­ber 1 at 7:30pm, Con­tact Mrs Young on 204 8252.

Photo: SUP­PLIED.

Rapt: Chil­dren from West Otago Plun­ket get into the Christ­mas spirit.

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