Celebrating 20 Years of Buddy

By Courtney Forde | Posted: Tuesday December 4, 2018

A mentoring programme that has positively impacted the lives of more than 300 Invercargill children has celebrated 20 years in the city.

More than 60 people, including Presbyterian Support Southland (PSS) Board members and staff, Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt, past and present Big Buddies, and existing Little Buddies and their families, joined to mark the 20th anniversary of the Invercargill Buddy Programme at a function in late October.

Past Big and Little Buddies spoke about the impact the programme has had on their lives, and the cake was cut by the longest serving Big Buddy, who had spent more than 17 years supporting youngsters through the initiative.

The Buddy Programme matches trained adult volunteers with young people aged between 4 and 12 years who, for a variety of reasons, need the assistance of an extra adult in their lives. The buddies spend a couple of hours a week together, taking part in activities they choose and enjoying each other’s company.

Originating in Dunedin, the programme was launched in Invercargill in 1998, and soon expanded to Queenstown (in 2001) and Gore (in 2006).

Invercargill Buddy Programme Coordinator Rosanne Wybrow said the longevity of the programme, and its positive outcomes for so many young people and their families, was a credit to the support of the PSS Board and management, committed and dedicated Big Buddies, and to Little Buddies and their families who embraced the programme and the new opportunities offered.

Big Buddies Needed

Could you spare a couple of hours a week to make a difference in the life of a child/young person? 

There is a shortage of Big Buddies in Invercargill so if you feel you can help, please get in touch. You will be well supported with training, advice and guidance, and staff pride themselves on their ability to match buddies according to their personalities and interests.

Anyone interested should contact Rosanne Wybrow on 03 211 8223, email BPI@familyworkssld.nz, or visit www.familworkssld.nz to find out more.