Who will save West Otago Plunket?
Crisis meeting on December 1 hopes to avoid closure of 87-year-old branch
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.
Rapt: Children from West Otago Plunket get into the Christmas spirit.