New centre officially opened

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Balfour Plunket has relocated its clinic to a new centre next to Balfour School.

The new centre combines the local Plunket and Playcentre, meaning only one building now has to be maintained.

The centre was blessed by Helen Wilson, of Ngai Tahu, and Willie Solomon, of Ngapuhi, on Wednesday.

Mr Solomon also has a personal connection to the centre, having taught at Balfour School for 23 years.

Balfour Plunket president Janese Priergaard-Peterson said it had been a long process, so they were very excited to have it open.

“It’s a much warmer, lighter, brighter space to bring your babies, toddlers, preschoolers and it just allows a lot more interaction between the mums,” Mrs Priergaard-Peterson said.

Balfour School pupils sung a waiata at the opening and the ribbon was cut by long-serving Balfour Plunket car seat co-ordinator Sharon Miller and 3-year-old Monty Blakely.

Balfour School principal Louise Stevenson said the centre would provide a central hub for everyone and believed it would strengthen the community.

“We’re so fortunate that we have these parents that drive these projects and really get involved and actually do some hard work to get things done,” Mrs Stevenson said.

Plunket had been waiting four to five years for a new centre.

The funding for the new Plunket rooms came from fundraising from past years, with additional community support helping, too.

Plunket was also hoping by having Plunket and Playcentre in the same building that it would have a “flow on” effect for the Playcentre.