SupportLink service one of a kind

By PSS | Posted: Wednesday November 7, 2018

Enliven service, SupportLink, is a free community service that offers assistance to older people living in their own home.

SupportLink offers different types of assistance depending on individual needs and is provided by trained volunteers who generously give their time. Volunteers are matched with older people in the community who require some companionship or support and can assist with transport to appointments, helping with groceries or shopping, access to social activities and coffee clubs with people of a similar age.

The service is currently offered in Invercargill, Gore and Queenstown; with the Gore SupportLink coffee group being the biggest.

SupportLink was established in Eastern Southland in 2006. It came about through a successful message posted in the well-established Gore newspaper, The Ensign, which inspired 13 people to arrive at the first SupportLink monthly coffee group for people aged 60 and over. With Enliven SupportLink Coordinator Patricia Officer-Young at the helm assisted by dedicated, clever volunteers, the group has “grown like topsy”. Most of the original 13 men and women continued to join, each gathering thereafter.

“Something must be right,” Patricia says, “they keep coming back".

Now, there are 76 people on the mailing list and at most events a group of about 45 will show up to share their stories, make new friends and of course, enjoy a hot cuppa.

The group rotate between venues that are big enough to accommodate them, currently frequenting the RSA, Fall’s Hotel in Mataura, the Gore Town & Country Club and Food Affair at the Gore Racecourse.

The staff are “so good to us, we’re ever so grateful.”

Since many of the SupportLink attendees don’t drive, there is a supplied pick up and drop off service which many people find helpful.

Patricia makes sure birthday cards go out to all the volunteers and each of the attendees.

 “It’s just lovely. I’m really very proud of what we are doing and we could not do it without the volunteer and community support.”

Lynn Morton, Manager of Enliven Community Services says that the Gore District has a higher than average population of people over 65 and it is encouraging to see that the success of the Coffee Club is helping to meet the social needs of older people in this community.

If you are interested in becoming a SupportLink volunteer please contact Enliven Community Services Manager, Lynn Morton on 03 211 8253 or email