Friendship programme comes to Gore

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Friends needed. . . IHC volunteeer programme co-ordinator Leon Hartnett is encouraging anyone with some spare time who would like to volunteer to be part of an online programme to be the friend of someone with an intellectual disability to contact him. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

IHC volunteer programme co-ordinator Leon Hartnett is looking for people who would like to be an online friend for people with intellectual disabilities in Gore.

A similar programme has been running successfully in Invercargill, Mr Hartnett said.

Before Covid-19, the volunteers and people with intellectual disabilities met face to face but were now catching up online.

Running the programme online meant it did not matter where people were living.

“I am now able to reach out to places like Gore and say ís there people in Gore who would like a friend?’

“We think there is a need for online friendship because a lot of people have difficulties now meeting face to face.”

He was interested in connecting people with an intellectual disability or their support person and those willing to volunteer for the programme.

The online programme gave people flexibility when they could meet up and was not a big time commitment.

“If you have an hour free every two weeks to either get on the phone or on your computer you could make somebody’s life better.”

People could chat or play games or share activities which could be making a meal or taking part in a craft.

Volunteers would be given training.

“We make sure they understand the needs of their friend.”

If anyone would like to take part in the IHC volunteer programme, please contact Mr Hartnett on (021) 308-549.