Enliven Volunteers Celebrated at Festive Morning Tea

By PSS | Posted: Wednesday December 11, 2019

Whether it's driving a car load of seniors to Coffee Club or lending a hand with the weekly grocery shopping, humble Enliven volunteers have been recognised for their contributions at a special morning tea.

The festive event - complete with Christmas trimmings, delectable home-made treats and a knees-up sing-along - took place in Peacehaven’s Anderson Hall on Thursday, 5 December, coinciding with the United Nation’s initiative of International Volunteers Day.

Presbyterian Support Southland Chief Executive John Prendergast addressed the 75 or so volunteers present and said it was a pleasure to acknowledge and celebrate the work of its volunteers, without whom the charity’s many social services would not survive.

“While it’s entirely appropriate that we take this day to celebrate and thank you for the great work you do, we are also mindful that you dedicate your time, energy and effort into improving the lives of our older people for all the other 364 days of the year.”

Enliven Community Services Manager Lynn Morton echoed Mr Prendergast’s words of appreciation and said Enliven volunteers had provided more than 6,746 hours of service throughout the year, which roughly equated to $100,000 worth of paid labour.

“From arranging flowers and reading newspapers out loud, to providing companionship or taking a craft class, our volunteers take on a myriad of responsibilities that not only lighten and brighten up our older peoples’ lives but they also free up our care workers and nurses, allowing them to focus on more personalised care.”

“We really couldn’t do what we do as an organisation without them!”

Mrs Morton said this year’s ‘themed’ thank-you gift was a camp chair which was given in the hope that each volunteer would take time for themselves to sit back and practice a little selfcare.

Amongst those to leave with a chair tucked under arm was Naomi Morgan who has volunteered for Enliven and Family Works ever since moving to her Peacehaven flat in 2010. Naomi’s knitting endeavours have benefited a span of generations with hundreds of knee rugs, cot blankets, teddy bears, booties and hats made over the years for Southland’s seniors and families in need.

"I enjoy the knitting so it’s really nice to know it goes to people who have need of it," Naomi said.

Pick’n’Mix entertainer and musician Laurie Livingstone said he and his fellow band members had “thoroughly enjoyed” playing the rest-home circuit for over 10 years, describing the interaction with Enliven residents as “sheer fun”.

“I’ve come to believe it’s highly therapeutic for both parties,” said Lorry, “It certainly blows the cobwebs away!”

Retired Invercargill couple Elaine and Russell Winter also came away with pair of chairs, having spent another year assisting and transporting SupportLink clients to and from Enliven’s monthly Coffee Club meets and on special outings.

Russell said that in the past he had a lot of fun taking residents out in the rest-home vans.

“They’re a wonderful bunch of people and it’s a very rewarding experience.”

He winked.

“And you know you’ve held up your side of the bargain well, when you get the van in the gates and more than half of your passengers are still wide awake!”